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Mind's Eye 

A Liberal Arts Journal 

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 

A Night in the Life of a College Student or 
Whats Sleep Got to Do with College Life? 
By Peggy R. Brooks 

Genocide and Cultures of die Body in Nazi Germany 
and Rwanda, 1994: Implications for Anthropology arid 
Disability Studies 
By Sumi Colligan 

Turning to English 
By Adriana Millenaar Brown 

Expanding ihc Circle 
By Ben Jacques 

By Ted Gilley 
By Mlndy Dow 

The People. Places and Stories Behind Emily Dickinsons 
Poetry: Three Short Essays 
By Lea Bertani Vozar Newman 

A Humanistic Approach ro Teaching Writing 
By Jenifer Augur 

Sentience and Sensibility: "A Conversation about Moral 
Book Review by Lea Newman 


Mind's Eye 

A Liberal Arts Journal 


Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 

Editorial Board 

Bill Montgomery, Managing Editor 
Robert Bence 
Sumi Colligan 
Abbot Cutler 
Frances Jones-Sneed 
Mark Miller 
Leon Peters 
Graziana Ramsden 

Arlene Bouras, Copy Editor 

Advisory Board 

James MacGregor Burns, Professor of history and political science. 
University of Maryland 
Stephen Fix, Professor of English, Williams College 
Ibomas Green, Professor of law and history, University of Michigan 
Mary Huber, Carnegie Foundation scholar 
lea Newman, Professor of English emerita, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 
Joseph Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA 

©2008 The Mind's Eye 
ISSN 1098-0512 

The Mind's Eye, a journal of scholarly and creative work, is published annually by 
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. While emphasizing articles of scholarly merit, The 
Mind's Eye focuses on a general communication of ideas of interest to a liberal arts col lege. 
We welcome expository essays, including reviews, as well as hction, poetry and art. Please 
refer to the inside back cover for a list of writers guidelines. 

A yearly subscription to The Mind's Eye is $7.50. Send check or money order to '[be 
Mind's Eye, C/O Frances Jones-Sneed, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 375 Church 
Street, Notth Adams, MA 1 247. 

2 The MmdsEye 

Mind's Eye 


Editor's File 4 

A Night in the Life of a College Student or 
What's Sleep Got to Do with College Life? 

r R. Brooks 6 

Genocide and Cultures of the Body in Nazi Germany and 
Rwanda, 1994: Implications for Anthropology and Disability 

By Sumi Colligan 22 

Turning to English 

By Adriana Millenaar Brown ,,,.33 

Expanding the Circle 

By Ben Jacques 38 


ByTedGilley 43 

By Mindy Dow 47 

The People, Places and Stories Behind Emily Dickinsons Poetry: 
Three Short Essays 

By Lea Berrani Vozai Newman 50 

A Humanistic Approach to Teaching Writing 

By Jenifer Augur 64 

Sentience and Sensibility: "A Conversation about Moral Philosophy" 

Book Review by Lea Newman 75 

Contributors 78 

The Mind's Eye 3 

Editor's File 

Do college students get enough sleep? Peggy Brooks organized a team 
of MCLA students to investigate their classmates' bedtime habits 
with some surprising results. In keeping with popular stereotypes, 
many srudents do indeed burn rhe midnighr oil, but on average they sleep 
a reasonable seven and a half hours a night. However, quality may be as 
important as quantity. Brooks turned up a number of specific sleep behaviors 
that contribute to health and mental alertness, behaviors that may benefit the 
old as well as the young. This essay won the faculty lecture award in 2006. 

Sumi Colligan shifts our focus ro a more somber ropic: the hisrory of 
Nazi eugenic measures againsr disabled people. Colligan, who attended a 
conference on the topic at Potsdam, Germany, finds it particularly disrurbing 
that German anthropologists, members of her own profession, conrributed 
to the campaign ro eliminate individuals deemed unfit. She also reports on 
a second meering in San Francisco chat compared Nazi arrocities with the 
equally appalling events that took place in Rwanda. Although Germany 
and Rwanda are widely separated in historical experience, scholars have 
uncovered unpleasant similarities between traditional Tutsi atritudes toward 
the body and Nazi eugenic beliefs. Adriana Brown recounts her memories 
of the Nazi era from the perspective of rhe child of a Dutch diplomat and a 
German morher in the German capital during World War II . Brown attended 
German schools, spoke the German language and observed the patriotic 
gestures expected of German children. She was also exposed to the bombing 
campaign loosed againsr German civilians by rhe American and British ait 
forces. After a period of refuge in Sweden and Holland, she returned ro Berlin, 
this time to attend an English-language school for the children of occupation 
officials. From a greater distance, Ben Jacques considers rhe consequences 
of European polirics and erhniciry for members of his own family, ethnic 
Germans who had lived for centuries in Russia. Deported to Siberia during 
World War II, they were never fully trusted in rhe Sovier Union and were 
finally allowed to emigrate to Germany ar the end of rhe Cold War. 

Ted Gilley has given us rhree poems about possessions, relatives and 
identity. Each evokes an acute sense of loss and each details a struggle in the 


Editor's File 

mind. Together they comment powerfully on the limits and possibilities of 
memory. Mindy Dows poems take us to two places, Slea Head in County 
Kerry, Ireland, and the North Adams fishpond. She finds a poetic resonance 
in both sites, and you will want to join her on those visits. Lea Newman 
introduces us to three famous poems by Emily Dickinson and relates them to 
the events of her life. One touches on Dickinsons love life, one on her attitude 
toward religion and one on her fear of death, In every case, they contradict 
any easy claims about who she was or how she wished to be temembered. 

Jenifer Augur considers the needs of writing students and eloquently 
defends the teaching methods of her former mentor, Peter Eibow, who 
urged students to explote their personal feelings in their work. Augur is not 
necessarily thinking about the needs of poets; she simply wants her students 
to connect with their readers. To this end, she advocates a humanistic 
approach that looks beyond the impersonal models so often favored in the 
academic world. Connecting with readers is the main point of Matt Silliman's 

Newman at the conclusion of our issue. Silliman sets out to construct a moral 
theory that makes a place for animals, and Newman declares his fictional 
dialogue a success. 

This is a time of ttansitions. Last summer, Amy Stevens took over the 
job of posting The Mind's Eye online ( In January, 
Terrie Pratt succeeded Karen DeOrdio as office manager. In August, Frances 
Jones-Sneed will succeed me as managing editor. Readers of The Mind's Eye 
will recall her contribution as guest editor of the outstanding 2007 issue. 
Three stalwarts remain: Arlene Bouras will continue as copy editot, Leon 
Peters as layout designer and Amy as Webmaster. The Mind's Eye owes a 
major debt to the able professionals who make it a reality. After five years, I 
will miss working with every one of them. Wirh Karen and Terrie, I always 
knew where the money was; with Arlene, I always knew our prose would be 
articulate and precise; with Leon I always knew that we would look our very 
best in print; and with Amy, I now know that we are available to readers 
internationally. It is a good feeling, and I wish mote of the same to Frances 
as she sets out to continue the journal and its traditions. Something tells me 
that she is going to do very well, indeed. 

Bill Montgomery, Managing Editor 

The Minds Eye 5 

A Night in the Life of a 
College Student or 
What's Sleep Got to Do with 
College Life? 


For many of us, sleep seems like a pretty mundane subject. No doubt 
about it, however; the study of sleep is a hot topic. Media reports on 
sleep studies appear- daily in newspapers and on television. We might 
wonder if our attraction to the topic has to do with a perceived level of sleep 
deprivation in our 24-hour society. 

Although sleep is a fundamental biological process that wc often take for 
granted, there are many questions we might ask about its value and function, 
especially for college students. Is sleep related to grade point average (GPA)? 
How are sleep habits related to deptession in college students? Will sleep help 
college athletes perform better? Can sleep enhance cognitive performance 
(learning) and creativity? Would a daytime nap provide some of the same 
benefits? Current research has begun to address these and other fascinating 
aspects of sleep. 

College studen ts are believed to be among the most sleep-deprived popu- 
lations. Late nights of studying or partying and early mornings for classes or 
sports practice are considered the norm for college students, leading to the 
perception that they don't get enough sleep, or that theit sleep is disturbed. 

When, exactly, do college students sleep? Do they get enough? Is there 
a weekly pattern of sleep; i.e., do students sleep more on Monday night than 

6 The Mind) Eye 

Peggy R. Brooks 

on Saturday night? I will attempt to point to some possible answers to these 
questions, drawing on data my research assistants and I (Girgenti, Mills and 
Brooks; Brooks, Garrison et al.) collected from 257 MCLA students.' 

We had a number of wide-ranging goals for the early studies, including 
obtaining normative data on the sleep life of college students, making com- 
parisons of first-year and upper-division students (e.g., do firsr-yeat students 
get less sleep in the first few weeks of college life as they orient themselves 
to new surroundings?), looking for correlations among stressors, depression 
and sleep, and assessing the potential value of afternoon naps for enhancing 

Mosr sleep research uses questionnaires given at a single point in time 
as a measure of sleep habits. Such surveys ask questions such as "How many 
hours of sleep, on average, do you get each night?" One can see that these 
single-point measures might be useful fot getting general esrimates but cannot 
show us the day-to-day variations so typical of college students: the all-nighter 
or the extended catch-up sleep binge, fot example. My earliest research group 
at MCLA was among the first, if not the first, in rhe field to utilize take-home 
sleep diaries, completed each day fot 14 days (turned in every two days), with 
a college-student population, thus offering a more ecologically valid and 
potentially mote accurate picture of the sleep patterns of college students. 
The National Sleep Foundation gave us permission to use its diaty format, 
which I modified, in our research. The diary asked students ro note the time 
they had gone to bed the previous night, the time they got out of bed each 
morning, how long it took them to fall asleep, how many times they woke 
up in the night, whether they felt refreshed or fatigued when they woke up, 
how many total hours they slept and what kinds of things disturbed their 
sleep. We also used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQ1) as a onetime 
measure of sleep quality, on which students reporred a general sense of their 
sleep habits. This allowed single-point and multiple-point comparisons. 
Orher measures included rhe Beck Depression Inventory (BD1-II) and the 
Student Life-Stress Inventory (SLSI). 

1 In summarizing our research at MCLA, 1 will use data from four studies undertaken with the 
help of the following students over the course of the past four years. 1 would like to thank Alicia 
Girgenti, Maura Mills, Aubrey DeMarsico, Heathet DcMatsico, Adam Gatrison, Jamie LaLonde, 
Tim Quinones, Samantha Badiija. Danielle Durand, Brand! Gillen, Scott Grcenberg, Kim Harris, 
Robert Hubcrdeau, Julia Kowalski and Kath trine Malrmey for their contributions. All of them have 
been able ro present their work at conferences, including Eastern Psychological Association, Mount 
Holyokc Undergraduaie Research Conference, University of Massachusetts Undergraduate Research 
Conference and the MCLA Undergrade re Research Conferences held an nually on 


The Mind's Eyt 7 

Peggy R. Brooks 

MCLA Students and Sleep 

How sleep-deprived are our students? The numbers from our research 
belie rhe stereotype. In rhe two- week sleep diaries, MCLA srudenrs reported 
sleeping from four and a half to ten hours per night (Figure 1). 

Figure 2 compares the single-point measure (PSQI) with the 1 4-day (sleep- 
diary) measure. Our studenrs reporred a single-poinr average of 6.8 hours 
and a 1 4-day average of 7.44 hours. 

Figure 2. Comparison of single-point and 14-day averages 

The difference between the two measures represenrs about 40 minutes 
(per night/day?!). It is significanr and ir suggests two important points: First, 

8 7ht Mind's Eye 

Peggy R. Brooks 

students may buy into che popular view of themselves as sleep-deprived when 
they answer the single-point survey question, thus reporting less sleep than 
they actually ger when they more accurately keep track of their sleep over two 
weeks' time. Second, assuming the sleep-diary hours are more accurate, our 
students are actually getting an average amount of sleep, almost seven and 
a half hours. While this represents an average over two weeks' time and not 
an individual night's variation, it should be reassuring to both parents and 
college health-service staff. 

So if our students get close to an average amount of sleep, when, exactly, 
do they sleep? 1 titled this paper "A Night in the Life of a College Student," 
but, in fact, most of our students do not even go to bed until the clock has 
been showing "a.m." for well over an hour. As teaching faculty, we tend to 
take a dim view of the student who nods olf in an 1 1-a.m. class, but most 
of us don't consider that said student might not have gotten to bed until five 
a.m.! The average weekday bedtime in our most recent sample was t : 1 5 a.m. 
and the average weekend bedtime was 2: 14 a.m., about an hours difference 
between weekdays and weekends. Figure 3 shows how average bedcime varied 
throughout the week. 

2:52 t 1 


0:00-1 , , , , , , 

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun 

Figure 3. Average bedtime by day oFweek 

It's important to note that there was tremendous variability in our student 
sample, with bedtimes ranging from around nine p.m. to five a.m. In addi- 
tion, there were three students in the sample who reported nights with no 
sleep at all! Sleep is one of those personal habits that exhibit a wide range of 
individual variation. A range of six to ten hours a night is considered within 
the norm, but a few (very few, really) appear to function well on less than 
six hours of sleep a night. 

The tendency to push bedtime later and later is known as "delayed 
sleep phase syndrome" ("night owl" is the familiar term) and is common in 
adolescents. Ihe question is whether the delay is extrinsic, caused by social 

The Minds Eye 9 

Peggy R Brooks 

norms of late nights, or intrinsic, caused by an individual's internal cir- 
cadian clock. There is some evidence that those with intrinsic delayed sleep 
are more prone to depression. The pendulum may swing rhe other way as we 
age, when we tend to fall asleep much earlier in rhe evening (advanced sleep 
phase syndrome). 

Interestingly, college srudents may fare betrer than high school srudents 
wirh regard to total amount of sleep, mostly because chey have the freedom 
to sleep later. A 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll of 1 ,602 households 
across the country found that only one-fifth of 11-17-year-olds reported 
getting enough sleep on school nights, and more than one-fourth said they 
fell asleep during school at least once a week. By comparison, the student 
nodding oft in a college class is rare. 

If the average bedtime of our students is 1:40 a.m., then when do they get 
out of bed? Again, there was individual variability in wake-up time; however, 
the average MCLA student wakes up earlier than we might have guessed. 
Our data indicate the average wake-up time was 8:51 a.m., a lot better than 
the statistical outliers who reported getting up at 5:30 or 6:30 a.m., or at the 
other, srereotypical extteme, 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and, in one case, 5 p.m.! When 
we look at rhe weekly pattern, however, we see an interesting trend. Figure 
4 shows a graph of wake-up rimes of our students by day of week. 


Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun 

Figure 4. Wake-up time by day of week 

We can see a real effort to start the week out "right" by getting up early on 
Monday at 8:15. This trend continues until Thursday, when students sleep 
more than 30 minutes longer, arising at 8:49 on average. And by Saturday, 
they sleep an hour and a half longer (mean a 9:45 a.m.). Interesringly, Sundays 
are not the latest "sleep-in" days for our students in general, with an average 
about half an hour earlier than Saturdays, at 9:14. I should point out that 

10 tht Mind's Sye 

Peggy R. Brooks 

srudenrs often wrote in the sleep diaries the various reasons for their sleeping 
habits, and it was clear from reading them that these reasons ranged from 
caring for a young child to recovery from an overnighr job to getting up early 
for work or a sports workout. 

The general adulr population tends to follow a weekly pattern as well, 
with nonwotking days preceded by nights when we stay up later (Zerubavel), 
but the pattern is slightly different: Saturday night tends to show* the latest 
bedtimes and Sunday morning yields the latest sleep-in times. Our students 
follow this general cultural pattern of an earlier wake-up on rhe weekdays 
and later wake-tips on the weekends, but with a rwist: MCLA students stay 
up latest on Saturday nights bur also sleep latest on Saturday mornings. The 
reasons for a later sleep-in on Saturday mornings than on Sunday mornings 
are unclear; it may be that students feel the accumulation of "sleep debt" 
most acutely on Saturday after a full week of classes and other activities or, 
as some mentioned in their diaries, they had to get up early for work on 
Sunday. Whatever rhe reasons, the patterns observed clearly argue for an 
environmental effect on a biological rhythm. They also show us that college 
students don't tend to sleep as late as the stereotypical adolescent who typi- 
cally sleeps until noon on the weekends. 

How Do First-Year Students Fare? 

For the question about our incoming students, we tested both first-year 
and upper-division students during the first two to three weeks of the fall 
semester. We w;anted ro know how the adjustment to college life might relate 
to sleep quantity and quality. We hypothesized that first-year students would 
get less sleep, report more sleep disturbances and experience more stress than 
upper-division students. To our surprise, we found the reverse; i.e., first-year 
students slept an average of 20 minures more than upper-division srudenrs, 
and also reported fewer sleep disturbances and less overall sttess. First-year 
students reported significantly more agitation than upper-division srudents, 
but this difference did not impair sleep enough to overtake upper-division 
student levels. 

The Early Bird Gets the GPA 

Is there a relationship between bedtime and wake-up time and GPA? 
Ptevious studies of both high school students (Wolfson and Carskadon) and 
college students (Trockel, Barnes and Egget) have found that "the early bird 
gets the GPA," so to speak: Students who go to bed earlier and rise earlier 

The Mind's Eye 1 1 

Peggy R. Brooks 

tend to have higher GPAs. Our studies confirmed this, with one exception: 
A significant correlation was found between MCLA students' reported GPA 
and reported time of waking in the morning (r - -.384, p=.01; Figure 5) but 
not their bedtimes. We also found that sleep quality, rated by students in the 
diaries as having awakened "refreshed, somewhat refreshed or fatigued" 




1 2 3 4 5 

Figure 5. GPA by wake-up time 

or on the onetime questionnaire as a rating of overall sleep qualiry on a 
four-point scale of "very good" to "very bad," was a significant predictor of 
GPA; i.e., students with better overall sleep quality had significantly higher 

Sleep, Learning, Memory and Creativity 

Grade point average isn't rhe only measure of academic success or, more 
important, what students actually learn while in college. How might sleep 
affect learning, memory and problem-solving abilities (creativity)? 

Learning is typically defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior 
that results from experience. At a behavioral level, change is seen in improved 
performance. At a cognitive level, the change is related to memory. Ar the 
neuroscience level, changes can be observed electrically, ncurochemically 
and structurally in the brain. Putting these together, we get the "cognitive 
neuroscience" of sleep, an especially hot field these days. 

Robert Stickgold of Harvard has created a hierarchy of questions (Table 
1) related to the overarching question "How does sleep affect learning and 
memory? (2003)" He points out that each of these headings is independent 
with a total yield of about 900 unique questions, still without addressing 
whethet sleep is necessary, sufficient or both, for each! I've boldfaced two 
questions to focus the current discussion. 

12 The Mind's By? 

Peggy R. Brooks 

1. Sleep occurring when, relative to training? 

1 . 1 Prior to Training 

1.2 After ttaining 

2. Which aspects of learning or memory? 

2.1 Encoding 

2.2 Stabilization 

2.3 Strengrhening 

2.4 Smegration 

3. What stages of sleep? 

3.1 Stage 1 sleep (sleep onset) 

3.2 Stage 2 sleep (light NREM sleep) 

3.3 Stage 3 and 4" sleep (SWS) 

3.4 REM sleep 

4. Over what time period? 

4.1 Same-day naps 

4.2 First nighr 

4.2.1 Early night 

4.2.2 Late night 

4.3 More distant nights 

5- What types of memory are affected? 

5.1 Declarative 

5.1.1 Episodic Simple Emotional 

5.1.2 Semantic Simple Complex 

5.2 Procedural 

5.2.1 Perceptual 

5.2.2 Motor 

5.2.3 Complex cognirive 

Table 1 . Questions about sleep and learning (Stickgold 42) 

Based on elecrroencep holography (EEG) and neurochemical brain 
activity, sleep can be roughly divided into rapid eye movement (REM) and 
non-REM (NREM) periods. While dreaming can occur at other stages of 

Ihe Mind's Eye 13 

I'tgSy & brooks 

sleep, most dreaming occurs during the REM stage. Non-REM sleep can 
be further divided, based on KEG waveforms, into four stages of increasing 
depth. The typical pattern of a night's sleep stages is shown in Figure 6, with 
stages 1-1 representing NREM sleep (stages 3 and 4 are often labeled slow 
wave sleep [SWS]). 

REM . 

Stage - 1 - 
Stage - 2 — 
Stage - 3 ■ 
Stage - 4 ■ 




Hours 012345678 
Figure 6. Sleep stages. From HiinkQuest, 

Commonly, we record EEG, EOG (eiectrooculography — eye move- 
ments) and EMG (electromyography — muscle movements) during sleep, 
allowing us to track changes throughout the night. The typical EEG, EOG 
and EMG patterns for each sleep stage are shown in Figure 7. 

NREM stage 2 NREM stage 3 NREM stage 4 REM sleep 

Figure 7. Stages of sleep and their psychophysiological corrc lares 
From HiinkQuest, 

Our deepest sleep is not when we're dreaming but during stages 3 and 4 
(SWS). Notice the EEG waveform changes as sleep becomes deeper, increasing 
in amplitude and decreasing in frequency, represenring a slowing of neural 
fifing in the brain. 

14 Ihe Mind's Eye 

Prggr R. Brooks 

Two types of memory have been most frequently studied for their 
potential enhancement and consolidation during sleep: semantic declara- 
tive memory, which addresses memory for words and facts, and procedural 
memory, which primarily addresses perceptual and motor-skills learning, 

Keeping stages and types of memory in mind, let's look at two studies fot 
thei r particular relevance to learning. The strongest evidence comes from stud- 
ies of procedural learning, Stickgold and his colleagues have cleverly designed 
several experiments to test memory for activities such as visual discrimination, 
playing scales on the piano and playing computer games such as Tetris. In 
one of the most impressive studies (Stickgold, Whidbee et al.), subjects were 
trained on a visual discrimination task and tetested cither later that day or 
the next day. Those who were trained and retested on the same day (without 
sleep) showed no significant improvement, while those who were trained and 
retested after a night's sleep showed significant improvement. When EEC 
analyses were done, almost 90 percent of the variance in improvement was 
attributable to the amount of early-night SWS and late-night REM sleep 
obtained by the subjects. This is a dramatic result, demonstrating a two-stage 
process of memory consolidation, requiring both deep sleep and REM sleep 
for rhe best results. For this rype of learning, you'd need enough sleep ro 
cover both periods. In fact, Stickgold et al. found no imptovement with less 
than six tours of sleep, but a more recent study (Mednick, Nakayama and 
Stickgold) found that an afternoon nap with both SWS and REM yielded 
as much improvement as a night of sleep. 

Mednick et al. s finding ttiggered great interest in a new line of reseatch 
focused exclusively on the benefits of napping. Our most recent study (Brooks, 
DeMarsico and DeMarsico) has added to this litetature by focusing on 
memory and problem-solving with habitual nappers. The most robust find- 
ing is a significant improvemenr in procedural memory, as measured by audirory 
reaction time, following a 90-minute nap in students who were habitual nappers. 
Ihis resulr has clear implications for athletes in situations where improved reac- 
tion time might make critical differences in competition outcomes. 

The results for declarative memory are less clear, but this is the type of 
memory our students ate hoping to have when it comes time fot an exam — 
remembering those names, dates and details. Philal and Born used a verbal 
paired-associate task (pairing words such as "house — elephant") to show that 
eatly-night SWS significantly enhanced declarative memory. Phi lal and Born 
set up theit method as follows: 

The Mind) Eye 15 

Peggy R. Brvoh 

Group 1: Trained a: 10 p.m., slept for three hours, then rested 

Group 2: Slept three hours, trained, then slept three more hours, 
then tested. 

Group I improved their recall score of the paired words more than thtee times 
that of Group 2. An obvious (but still tentative, as science must rely on an 
accumulation of studies to make reliable inferences) conclusion is that if you 
want to perform best on a test, get some good deep sleep beforehand. 

Dreams and Creativity 

Scientists are understandably uncomfortable trying to interpret dreams. 
Interestingly though, many scientists, as well as artists, credit their insights 
to dreaming. 

Why might dreaming help solve creative problems? During REM sleep, 
the time we're most likely to dream, the neurochemistry of the btain changes 
dtamatically, allowing for an increase in cholinergic modulation, it appears 
that this change, along with an increased level of brain activity duting REM, 
supports changes in associative memory. Those of us who remember dreams 
may recall vivid or bizarre images, some of them novel solutions to a concern 
or problem we've had. Not all of them turn out to be practical, but some of 
them do. In another study conducted by Stickgold and colleagues (Stickgold, 
Scott et al.), subjects were tested throughout the night on theif association 
of words and their meanings (semantic priming). Weaker, or "looser," more 
creative associations were much stronger when subjects were awakened during 
REM sleep, indicating a type of cognitive flexibility not found in other stages 
of sleep. Similar results have been found using anagram solving as a measure of 
cognitive flexibility (Walker, Listen, Hobson and Stickgold), though our 
own results did not reach significance, possibly because the difficulty level 
of our anagrams was too high. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to suggest that if 
you have a problem to solve or a creative assignment to do, you might want 
to get enough sleep to allow For dreaming, which occurs mote often duting 
the latter half of the night. 

Sleep and Athletics 

Many athletes are beginning to recognize the impottance of sleep to 
athletic performance. Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno reports, "1 try to 
get more than eight [hours of sleep]. Between eight and ten. . . . It's crucial, 

16 The Mind's Eye 

flgp K. Brooks 

it is everything. I mean, I can only recover iFI am sleeping well it doesn't 

matter how hard I am training; if I don't get enough sleep, it is wasted" (qtd. 
in Rosekind). In the Olympic Village in Torino, Iraly, one of the sponsors of 
the 2006 Winter Olympics, Hilton Hotels, hired NASA scientist Mark Rose- 
kind ro help remodel athletes' rooms in Olympic Village in order to promote 
better sleeping conditions. These included plush-top mattresses to reduce 
tossing and turning and to increase circulation ; down comforters, extra-thick 
mattress pads, down pillows, high-thread-count cotton sheets and black-out 
drapes for naps during the day. Sounds nice, huh? During the renovations, 
some of the details were kept secret, because it was seen as a competitive edge 
not to let the other countries' athletes know about them. Rosekind says, "It's 
just like a training technique. I don't think we should be rushing out to tell 
the world, "This is what we're doing to get better.'" Rosekind maintains that 
getting optimal sleep can boost athletic performance by 30 percent. He also 
says, "Taking a 20-to-25-minute nap can boost an athlete's performance by 
as much as 34 percent and his or her alerrness up to 54 percent." 

Anyone who has traveled recently knows that the big hotel chains have 
capital ized on our sleep-deprivation culture by providing "sleep kits" complete 
with soothing music, lavender-scented linen spray and plush-top mattresses. 
I know of no data on wherher or not these investments have made any dif- 
ferences in all those early-morning business meetings. 

The Secrets of Sleep Revealed in Fairy Tales? 

What do Sleeping Beaury and Rumpelstiltskin have in common? An- 
swer: a spinning wheel with a spindle. Both Sleeping Beauty and the miller's 
daughter had adventures in spinning. In Sleeping Beauty's case, her finger 
was pricked and she fell into a deep sleep. The miller's daughrer, with the 
help of Rumpelstiltskin, spun straw into gold. 

It's unlikely that the Brorhers Grimm knew about electroencephalog- 
raphy, but spindles turn out to be important for sleep, too. As a person is 
falling asleep, EEG waveforms become slower and higher in amplitude. Like 
Sleeping Beauty's sleep-inducing spindle, rhe occurrence of a spindlelike 
waveform on the EEG is considered to be the cardinal sign that a person is 
really asleep, an indicaror of Stage 2 sleep. Figure 8 shows an EEG spindle, so 
named a "spindle" since its shape is fusiform. What does this spindle have to 
do with being an athlete? To be more precise, what does "spindling" 

The Mind's Eye 17 

Peggy K. Brooks 

Sleep Spindle 

1 sec 

Figure 8. Sleep spindle on the EEC From ThinkQuest, 

have to do with motor performance in general? What is happening in the 
brain when we see spindles on the EEG? 

Current speculation in neuroscience is that spindles, found in EEGs of 
all mammals, represent strong excitation of the brain's cortex by the thalamus, 
which is further inhibited from firing, giving an opportunity for calcium 
ions to prime neuronal synapses for permanent changes (memory). Motor 
memory is likely consolidated during Stage 2 spindling, because without it, 
motor performance is impaired. 

Several researchers (Smith and MacNeill, 1992, 1994; Fogel, Jacob and 
Smith; Walker, Brakefield et al.) have found that after training subjects on a 
task requiring quick fine-motor coordination, such as finger-tapping or play- 
ing the game Operation, their individual scores are highly positively correlated 
with the amount of Stage 2 sleep on the posttraining night. No Stage 2 sleep, 
impaired performance. Lots of Stage 2 sleep, improved performance. 

Sleep can affect performance, but performance can also affect sleep. 
Athletes who overtrain or overreach, as it's sometimes called, are those who 
train too hard or too often in an effort to increase fitness or performance. 
Such overreaching appears to affect both sleep and performance. A study by 
Wall, Mattacola, Swanik and Levenstein collected sleep efficiency data on 
competitive high school and university swimmers and found that overreached 
swimmers showed both less sleep and significantly slower reaction times by 
the fourth swim trial. More studies will be needed to confirm these results, 
but college coaches might want to keep informed. 

IS The Mind's Eye 

Peggy R. Brooks 

Sleep, Health and Depression 

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." 
We can't make the claim for the aphorism's implicated causal relationships, 
since our data ate correlational but so far, we can say we have support for the 
"wise" part, since earlier bedtimes predicted higher GPAs and naps are associ- 
ated with improved memory. For the "healthy" part, we collected data on both 
physical and mental health. We can't speak to the wealth, unfortunately. 

In our sample of 257 MCLA students, we found a strong significant 
telationship between overall estimates of physical health and sleep quality. 
We also found a marginally significant relationship between bedtime and 
depression. Those who went to bed earlier had, on average, lower scores on 
the depression inventory. But one of the most intriguing findings in our 
most recenr study has to do with the relationship of sleep to depression 
and gender. It is widely reported that women are at least twice as likely as 
men to be diagnosed with depression. Since sleep difficulties are actually a 
symptom of depression, we removed the sleep question from correlational 
analyses with depression so as not to confound these two variables. When wc 
did this, however, we found something astonishing: The gender differences 
in depression disappeared! Could it be that sleep difficulty is the symptom 
that makes women more vulnerable to depression? We think the gender, 
depression and sleep finding is an important contribution to the literature. 

Indeed, the National Sleep Foundation, in one of its newsletters, states, 
"What Really Makes Women Happy? Sleep!" The National Sleep Founda- 
tion reported a study conducted by Norbert Schwarz of the University of 
Michigan, in which he analyzed how 909 women experienced their various 
daily activities. Schwarz found that getting an extra hour of sleep had more 
of an impact on how the participants felr Throughout the day than marital 
status or earning more money. 

The implication for college counseling eenrers and our students is that 
good-quality sleep may be critical in preventing depression's first occurrence or, 
as found in some srudies, preventing a relapse, and especially so for women. 


We mighr end by just telling you that your parenrs gave you good ad- 
vice when they told you to get enough sleep. 1 might have titled this lectute 
simply "Sleep — It Does a Brain and a Body Good." I hope you can see from 
the research presented hete that while we're sleeping, a great deal is going on, 

The Mind's Eye 19 

Piggy R. Brooks 

and specific benefits of sleep appear to be tied to specific stages, amounts and 
timing of sleep. Sleep quality is a sensitive indicator of overall physical and 
mental health, responding subtly to daily events. The implications for college 
life are clear: Sleep may make the difference between an A or a C, a stellar 
athletic performance or a lackluster one, a brilliant solution to that physics 
problem/art-class assignment or a mundane une. Sleep on it and see! 

Works Cited 

Brooks, P. R, A. DeMarsico and H. DeMarsico. "Habitual Daytime Nappers 
Show Improved Reaction Time." Poster presented at Eastern Psychological 
Association, Boston, MA, Mar. 2008. 

Brooks, P. R., A. J. Garrison, J. A. LaLonde, T. Quinones and S. Bathija. "Stress, 
Coping, and Sleep: Comparisons of first- Year and Uppet-Division Stu- 
dents." Poster presented at Eastern Psychological Association, Baltimore, 
MD, Apr. 2003. 

Fogel, S., J. Jacob and C. Smith. "Increased Sleep Spindle Activity Following 
Simple Motor Procedural Learning in Humans." Actus de Fisiologia 7 
(2001): 123. 

Girgcnti, A. A., M. A. Mills and P. R. Brooks. 'Are Sleep Patterns, Depression, 
and Academic Performance Related?" Poster presented at 58th Annual 
Mount Holyokc College Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Conference, 
South Hadley, MA, Apr. 2005. 

Mcdnick, S., K. Nakayama and R. Stickgold. "Sleep-Dependent Learning: A Nap 
Is as Good as a Night." Nature Neuroscience 6 (2003): 697-98. 

National Sleep Foundation. NSF Alert (Dec. 7, 2004), 

Philal, W., and J. Born. "Effects of Early and Late Nocturnal Sleep on Priming 
and Spatial Memory." Psychopbysiology 36 (1999): 571-82. 

Rosekind. M. Quoted in Scholastic News 22 Mar. 2006. 

Smith, C, and C, MacNeill. "Impaired Motor Memory for a Pursuir RotorTask 
Following Stage 2 Sleep Loss in College Students." Journal of Sleep Research 
3 (1994): 206-13. 

. "Memory for Motor Task Is Impaired by Stage 2 Sleep Loss." Sleep 

Research 21 (1992); 139. 
Stickgold, R. "Human Studies of Sleep and Off-line Memory Reprocessing." Sleep 

and Brain Plasticity. P. Maquet, C. Smith and R. Stickgold, eds. Oxford: 

Oxford UP, 2003. 

20 The Mind's Eye 

Peggy R. Brooks 

Stickgold, R., L. Scoct, C, Ritrenhouse and J. A. Hobscm. "Sleep-Induced 
Changes in Associative Memory." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 1 1 

(1999) : 182-93. 

Stickgold, R., D. Whidbee, B. Schirmer, V. Patel and J. A. Hobson. "Visual Dis- 
crimination Learning Requites Post-Training Sleep." Journal of Cognitive 
Neuroscience 12 (2000): 246-54. 

Trockel, M. T., M. D. Barnes and D. L. Egget. "Health-Related Variables and 
Academic Performance Among First-Yeat College Students: Implications 
for Sleep and Other Behaviors." Journal of American College Health 49 

(2000) : 125-31. 

Walker, M., T. Brakefield, A. Morgan, J. A, Hobson and R. Stickgold. "Practice 
with Sleep Makes Perfect: Sleep Dependent Motor Skill Learning." Neuron 
35 (2002): 205-11. 

Walker, M, P., C. Liston, J. A. Hobson and R. Srickgold. "Cognitive Flexibility 
Actoss the Sleep-Wake Cycle: REM-Sleep Enhancement of Anagram 
Problem-Solving." Brain Research: Cognitive Brain Research 14 (2002): 

Wall, S. E, C. G. Mattacola, C. B. Swanik and S. Levenstein. "Sleep Efficiency 
and Overreaching in Swimmers." Journal of Sports Rehabilitation 12 
(2003): 1-12. 

Wolfson, A. R., and M. A. Carskadon. "Sleep Schedules and Daytime Functioning 

in Adolescents." Child Development 69 (1998); 875-87. 
Zetubavel, E. The Seven Day Circle. New York: Free, 1985. 

Vie Minds Eye 2\ 

Genocide and Cultures of the 
Body in Nazi Germany and 
Rwanda, 1994: Implications 
for Anthropology and 
Disability Studies 


Setting the Stage 

In July of 2004, I accompanied a group of disability studies scholars 
represent ng a range of disciplines in the social sciences and h umanitics to 
Potsdam, Germany, for a DAAD (German Academic Exchange) seminar 
on Disability Studies and the Legacy of Eugenics. In addition to exploring 
the historical context of eugenics and euthanasia during the reign ot the 
Nazis, we also met with archivisrs and filmmakers who were making efforts to 
"preserve" or, more accurately, to awake personal and cultural memories that 
had been masked or erased from the annals of historical documentation. We 
also met with German disability-rights activists who were srriving to change 
the course of history by repopulating and transforming the geographical 
and cultural landscape to (re)present the needs, goals and desires of disabled 
people in national and internarional arenas. 

One of rhe most haunting aspects of this experience was a road trip we 
took to medical/psychiatric institutions where disabled infants and adults, 
physically and psychologically impaired, had been killed in rhe years between 
1939 and 1941. This program, known as T-4, and the subsequent years, 
leading up to the end of World War II, resulted in more than 240, 000 deaths 

22 Tie Mm Eye 

Sitmi Colligitn 

of disabled people (Snyder and Mitchell 124). I'll never forget blind scholar 
and expert on t eproductive ethics Adrienne Asch reading Murderous Science to 
us in the van as we passed around samples of Fitter Sport chocolate. Perhaps 
more striking was our visit to Hadamar, where we were housed in a hostel that 
had been built on top of the gas chambers, because ir was the only lodging 
in the area that was accessible to wheelchair users! The trip engendered an 
eerie sense of iden tification and disidentification, as most of us were nor of 
German heritage or upbringing. Nevertheless, these institutions served as a 
reminder lhar ir could have been we who met our demise in these cordoned- 
off places, sheltered from public discourse and consciousness. Fortunarely, 
our commitment to a collective enterprise and our ironic humor (as well as 
ample supplies of chocolate) helped us face rhe greatest difficulties of this 
intellecrual and emotional journey. 

Disability studies scholar and historian Douglas Baynton argues that 
disabil iry is everywhere in history, but few academics have seen ir as worthy of 
investigation. He speaks of disability both as an empirical experience and as a 
metaphor rhat has been used to subordinate and marginal ize cerrain categories 
of persons in different places and periods (women, African-Americans and 
immigrants in American history, for example). The sequestering, creation and 
destrucrion of disabled bodies could be viewed as manifestations of bygone 
attitudes and practices; however, as described below, rhey are linked to nation- 
srare mechanisms and rransnational ideologies. Moreover, rhese processes 
cannot be detached from our immediate citcumstances, as the United States 
was once, itself, at the forefront of eugenic philosophy and politics and as we 
now live in a moment that exemplifies a fixation on "perfecting" rhe body. 
Our obsession wirh "fitness," our ongoing fascination with the ideology of 
cure, a belief sysrem rhat underscores the value of "fixing" so-called "devianr" 
bodies rather than accommodating them, and our eternal quest to remake 
ourselves in rhe image of bodily ideals promoted by consumer capitalism ate 
all evidence of this fixation. 

The comparison of cultures of the body in Germany and Rwanda to 
follow was presented at the Society for Disability Studies in San Francisco in 2005 
on a panel comprised of academics who had accompanied me to Porsdam. 
The pane! provided us a venue to make sense of what we read and witnessed 
through out own disciplinary lenses. My discussion of disabled bodies in 
this essay entails both the empirical and rhe metaphoric aspects elaborated 
upon by Baynton, as well as the ways in which they are intetrwined. It is due 

The Mind's Eye 23 

Sum ': Colligan 

to the powetful resonances of the Potsdam seminal and my concern for the 
future of all bodies that I undenake this analysis. 

Anthropology, Genocide and the Comparative Method 

The comparative method is a key anthropological approach to the study of 
culture. Yet the anthropological literature on genocide has only begun to hint 
that the impact of eugenic and euthanasia policies on disabled people should be 
investigated and analyzed within an anthropological and genocidal framework. 

This essay offers insights into the value of making such comparisons 
by examining macro- and micro-level processes as they pertain to cultutes 
of the body in two instances, the T-4 program in Nazi Germany and rhe 
Rwandan genocide of 1 994. Contributing factors to contemporary human 
annihilation such as the central forces of modernity (including the drive 
toward classification, the flattening effect of nation-state structures, the 
anonymity of bureaucratic functioning and colonial and postcolonial lust) 
are considered, along with more culturally specific notions of bodily purity, 
contamination, containment, popular medicine and disposable bodies. An 
evaluation of the intersection of these global and local processes should reveal 
means by which the discussion of genocide could be enlarged and deepened 
within anthropology and disability studies to incorporate a cross-cultural 
approach to the erasure of disabled people, and our relationship to other 
groups tatgeted for erasure (rom the human community. 

Last summer, as we forged our way through Nazi theories and pracrices of 
eugenics, euthanasia and racial hygiene, 1 was struck by the role that German 
anrhropologisrs had played, directly or indirectly, in sending Holocaust 
victims to their death. 1 was patticulatly disturbed because this inforrnarion 
implicated my discipline directly in this gruesome historical moment. This, 
however, should have come as no surprise, since I had prior knowledge of 
anthropologists' working in conjunction with colonial regimes. In fact, in 
Annihilating Difference: "Hie Anthropology of Genocide," Alexander H inton 
points out that pethaps rhe reason anthropologists have shied away from the 
study of genocide is that one of the central objectives of the discipline is to 
discern criteria by which we can evaluate similatities and differences among 
groups, an inclination that, taken too far, can precipitate genocidal tendencies. 
He reminds us that as a child of modernity, anthropology helped create the 
"science" of categorization, essentializing both physiognomy and culture. 

Despite our tainted start, I believe that a compatative study of the 

24 ThiMmd'i Bp 

Sumt Colligan 

"tropology of corporeality," to use Uli Linke's term (232), is one means of 
bringing disability into a discussion of genocide and bringing racial theory 
into a discussion of disability. Linke postulates "that modern forms of violence 
are engendered through 'regimes of reptesentation' that are to some extent 
mimetic, a source of self-formation , both within the historical unconscious 
and in the fabric of the social world" (231). Likewise, Christopher Taylor 
addresses the need to examine emic perspectives in genocidal events by 
exploring "generative schemes of body, self, and other" (1 38). In the German 
and Rwandan cases, metaphots of the body were foundational to nationalist 
discourse and practice, rooted in earlier historical epochs and central to the 
methods and logic of extermination. Moreover, in both instances, the types of 
bodies being eliminated were thought of as inconsequential to global concern. 
The geographies of blame were tetritotialized on the bodies of the victims 
such that neglect to intercede was made to seem like a notmal response to 
naturally wasting bodies. 

Germany and Rwanda Compared 

German attitudes towatd the body can minimally be traced back to 
reform movements of the 19th century. During that era, utban spaces, by- 
products of industrialization, were thought of as caralysts for illness and were 
juxtaposed to natural spaces that wete thought of as health-building and 
restoring (Gilman; Link). Even prior to that eta (the 17th and 18th centuries), 
spas were thought of as curing centers and places to go for recreation for the 
well-to-do (Maretzki). Nude bodies in "natural" settings came to symbolize 
antibourgeois sentiments, unfettered by the corruption of so-called civilization 
and standing strong and innocent (in a Rousseauean manner) (Linke). The 
Jewish body, on the other hand, was depicted as inheren tly weak and disabled, 
taking its shape and infused by the social ills of cities, and not fully capable 
of assuming the role of citizen-soldier (Gilman). Hence, discourses on the 
degeneration of certain bodies were weighed against representations of bodies 
in theit pristine and able-bodied state. By the end of World War I, biological 
metaphors of the nation ( Volkskorpef) were becoming commonplace, setting 
the stage for the rise of Nazism (Hogle 46-47) . 

In the Rwandan case, ethnographer of Rwandan popular medicine 
Christopher Taylor argues that root metaphors of flow and blockage of 
the body can be traced back to rhe period of Tutsi divine kingship. These 
metaphors linking the physical, social and cosmic orders continue to play 

The Mind's Eys 25 

Sumi Colligan 

a significant role in. theories and practices of health, illness and healing in 
contemporary Rwanda, and marked the bodies of Tutsi victims during 
the 1 994 genocide. Taylor states that the king was thought of as "a hollow 
conduit through which celestial beneficence passed" (1 54). Individuals who 
were perceived as interrupting the flow, such as childbearing females who 
lacked breasts or failed to menstruate, could be put to death. Thus, the king 
exetted both generative and coercive powers. Even today illness is associated with 
blockage, particularly of a digestive and reproductive nature. This blockage 
is seen as having serious repercussions not only to the body itself but in the 
maintenance of social relations and exchange. 

Zygmunt Bauraan notes that genocide is not an aberration of modernity 
but is built into its very structure and values. A celebration of technology, a 
penchant for ordering, a bureaucratic detachment that allows for concealment 
of responsibility, a fetishizing of efficiency and the surveillance of populations 
for the putpose of social engineering provide a perfecr backdrop for "genocidal 
priming," to use Hinron's term (29). The characteristics of modernity, then, 
have had a far-reaching hand in setting the preconditions and conditions of 
genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda. These characteristics, in combination 
with premodernist and modernist conceptions of the body, have intertwined 
to unleash their destruction and erasure of enrire human groups. 

Linda Hogie enumerates three interlinked stages that were central to 
Nazi ideology and practice. These included a notion of a nation composed 
of a collectivity of supetiot biological specimens, the identification and 
classification of those who should be expelled from the social body as "refuse" 
and "the social and technical means to convert refuse into a valuable resource" 
(46). fhose who were identified as "waste" or "material" had no right to 
refuse to serve the social good or resist being marked for elimination and/or 
experimentarion (Schaft 130). Blood purity became a major trope for defining 
the boundaries of the Germanic people, and mechanisms by which national 
and physical boundaries could be monitored and controlled wete devised and 
implemented. All bodies thought of as having degenerative qualities (those 
of ethnic and religious minorities, the physically and mentally disabled, gays 
and lesbians et alj were to be blocked from permeating the physical/social 
body (Hogle 48) . Michael Burleigh describes these measures as taken to "stem 
the How of eugenic damage done throughout the generations" (1 32). In the 
Nazi case, blockage was imagined as enhancing the nation's health, whereas 
in the Rwandan case, it was detrimental. 

26 The Mind's Eye 

Sumi Colligan 

Modernity was also implicated in colonial enterprises that established 
censuses for conquered populations, fixing identities in time, space and body, 
in order to extract taxes, labor and resources. Freezing identities of local 
groups often had the effect of creating or exacerbating tensions, facilitating 
the emergence of scapegoating that would crystallize i n the postindependence 
era. The Rwandans were colonized by the Germans in 1890, followed by 
the Belgians after World War I, before gaining independence in 1 962. 
The Belgians put a small aristocraric Tutsi elite in charge of Hutu farmers 
in a system of indirecr rule and provided them with multiple privileges 
(Gourevitch). They also issued ethnic identiry cards quite arbitrarily, labeling 
all those with ten cows or more Tursis, those with fewer than ten cows Hutus 
and those who they thought conformed to their image of Twa (Pygmies) Twa 
(Magnarella 321). Ironically, though, while these distinctions contributed to 
the promotion of essentialized identities (ones that would have significant 
political ramifications later on), the arbitrariness of the labels also contributed 
to intermixing (especially of the Hutus and Tutsis), in some cases, easing 
intermarriage, underscoring similarities of language, culture and religion and 
erasing easily identifiable physical traits (Magnarella 317). European theories 
of race also circulated, crearing further divisions because Tutsis were said ro 
be of superior stock due to their assumed Hamitic origins, whereas Hutus 
were said to belong to the inferior Bantus. Just prior to independence, the 
Belgians threw in theit lot with the Hutus, sending some Tutsis into exile. 
Al though Rwanda ostensibly became democratic, Tutsis were kepr out or the 
army and most high-level political offices, and some exiled Tutsis eventually 
waged guerrilla warfare from Uganda. 

In Germany the justifications and procedures for sterilizing and/or 
murdering disabled and ethnic minorities were at once the same and different. 
According to Proctot, sterilization was not to be viewed as punishment but 
"as the sacrifice an individual makes as a result of the 'personal tragedy' of 
having been born defective" ( 1 02). Sterilization was couched in the language 
of beneficence, leading others to believe that both the larger social body and 
the individual herself would be redeemed through this act. This ideology 
conforms to the notion of "ritual sacrifice" found in certain genocidal contexts 
(Scheper-Hughes 368). However, the Nazi penchant for making invidious 
distinctions can be seen in the differential treatment accorded disabled people 
dispatched to killing centers or put to death in their local institutions. Henry 
Friedknder nores that the "Aryan-identified disabled" were thought worthy 

li)e Mind's Eye 27 

Sumi Colligan 

of having false condolence letters sent to their families, whereas the Jewish 
disabled were killed without fanfare, being considered individuals with no 
redemptive value (171). Such distinctions served only to mask the broader 
Nazi project, since the coining of "lives unworthy of living" segued easily 
into anthropologists' taking on a "God-like" role of sorting out the races and 
creating furthet "hierarchies of value" (Schaft 120). 

The killing centers themselves functioned as institutions of technological 
"refinement," since the T-4 program designed to kill the disabled (a broad 
and nebulous category) was trying out technology that would later be sent off 
to the concentration camps when T-4 officially ended in 1941 . Friedlander 
describes the process of murder that took place in these killing centers as 
having the quality of "aasembly-l ine production" in which individuals were 
summarily assessed by physicians, stamped like documents and taken nude 
to the gas chambers, where guards sat nearby playing cards and drinking 
beer, waiting for the gas to do its work. Bodies were then dragged directly to 
the incinerators or placed on dissection tables to have parts removed. From 
what we witnessed on last summet's ttip, the dissection tables had holes to 
allow the fluids to run out, again, literally and metaphorically, "stemming 
the flow" that was perceived as contaminating the social body { 1(54). We also 
saw photographs of brains placed in canisters, representing the "recycling" 
that Linda Hogle describes, transforming "industfial waste" into materials of 
"value." Taken to its most macabre extremes, Hogle further describes human 
heads' being taken from concentration camps and shrunk to resemble 
those that Germans had seen in their former colonies, underscoring yet 
one more time that Germany and Rwanda are linked not only by the 
comparative forces of modernity but by the process of colonization itself (54). 

In Rwanda the techniques of mass murder were no less horrific, no less 
fashioned by corporeal tropes and no less sputred by European-rooted racial 
classifications. In 1994, approximately a million Tutsis and their allies were 
massacred by the Hutus in just 100 days. Despite the rapidity of the murders 
and the intent of the Hutus to massacre all Tutsis until they "become nothing 
but memory" ("Triumph"), the UN Security Council stalled in taking any 
action and the United States ignoted all pleas for intervention, instead having 
a State Department spokespetson hedge by stating that "acts of genocide" 
didn't necessarily constitute genocide! 

One of the most striking aspects (at least from a disability studies point 
ol view) of Christopher Taylor's report of this massacre is the way in which 

28 IheMtnd'iEye 

Sums Colligan 

many of the Tutsi victims were disabled before they were murdered or 
mutilated and left to languish in the hot sun while the perpetrators parried 
nearby, similarly to their German counterparts. For example, many victims 
had their Achilles' tendons cut and even those of their cows were severed. 
Taylor points out that this form of mutilation could not simply have been 
to keep victims from running away, because the procedure was performed 
not only on the able-bodied but also on the "elderly, infirm, and those too 
young to walk," while the disablement of cattle was intended to interrupt 
the flow of "marerial and symbolic capital." Additionally, Tutsi women's 
breasts were cut off to symbolically block rhe flow of milk (remember that 
during the period of divine kingship, breastless women were pur ro death) 
and victims were impaled from mouth to anus, symbolically distupting their 
digestive flow. Furthermore, rivers became "organs of elimination" where massive 
numbers of human bodies were dumped and swept away into Lake Victoria. In 
a utilitarian response similar to the Nazi ptactice of "recycling" human remains, 
local populations reluctanr to eat the fish out of the lake were told that these temains 
could be thought of as harmless organic material that would help the fish thrive. 
Ft om a comparative perspective, it is especially noteworthy that the victims (both 
Huru and Tursi) had to be disabled (even the disabled themselves) in order to 
"be prepared" for their death. As in rhe Nazi case, disability legitimated human 
sacrifice. The ultimate goal, as Taylor states, was to free the celestial flow in order 
to restore order to and redeem the Hutu nation (141—68). 

As with the Nazis, racist motivations were no less present in Rwanda. 
Triggered in parr by the possibility of a peace settlement between exiled 1 utsis 
and the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government, the impulse of nation-states 
to squash internal hierarchies and generate a Active "horizontal comradeship" 
came into play (Anderson 7). 1he language of expulsion was employed as 
Tutsis were enjoined to rerurn ro Ethiopia (recall the European-introduced 
Hamitic theory), highlighting them as oursiders to the social body (Taylor 
170), while physical fcarures (the nose) wete highlighted to cast the Tutsis 
as outsiders to the biological body. Taylor asserts thar people marked for 
death went from "blocked' - individuals in precnlonial times to 4 vhwi colonial 
"symbolism of malevolent obstruction" of an entire ethnic group (170). 
However, I would argue that disability had always lurked in the shadow of 
historical memory (making even those killed in precolonial times categorical 
rarher than individual targets) and making the bodies of those recently 
massacred doubly marked by disability and ethnicity, 

The Mind's Eye 29 

Sumi Colligan 

Neglected Bodies 

AIDS activist Cindy Pattern asserts that one reason the Western world 
was so slow to become involved in the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan 
Africa was that the image of an AIDS victim as having a wasted body was 
metaphorically collapsed with an image of Africa as a wasted continent, a 
continent plagued by a "natural" state of illness and poverty (1990). I believe 
that these cotporeal race/disability metaphors also functioned to prevent the 
United States from intervening, at least implicitly, in the Rwandan human 
slaughter because Africans are thought of as expendable bodies occupying an 
expendable continent. In the Frontline film "The Triumph of Evil," journalist 
Philip Gourevitch suggests that out failure to act was not a failure of US 
policy but a success, since our policy stipulated that we should not intervene 
where we have no economic or political inrerests. Likewise, while the T-4 
program was officially terminared in 1941 and the Allied forces eventually 
intervened in World War II, it still seems as though disabled bodies were 
considered dispensable, since 5,000 disabled children were murdered during 
the war without any interruptions or public accounting and, in the posrwar 
era, most Nazi physicians were treated as unfortunate individuals simply 
trying to do their job 

When I think back to our visits to two of the killing centers, Bernberg 
and Hadamar, carefully tucked away from public awareness, it is difficult 
nor ro experience a deep-seated sense of panic. But must we be sucked in 
to embracing the contemporary moment as a constant "state of emergency" 
(Scheper-Hughes 369)? Personally, I don't want to sound like an anchor on 
Fox News: "Crisis alert, crisis alert!" One thing that the study of genocide 
teaches us is that social categories are never discrete and that the "tropology 
of corporeality" circulates across caregorical and national boundaries, creating 
commonalities in people's lives, however desrrucrive and unfathomable. Aside 
from that sense of panic, as 1 faced the crematoriums with other disability 
studies scholars, I thought about our collective power to reimagine our lives 
and our connections with othets; that thought quieted my sense of panic. In 
anthropology, disability studies and allied disciplines, we need to continue 
to push against the assumed fixity and teproduction of these categories and 
make sure that our material bodies are not allowed to fade from view. 

30 The Mind's Eyt 

Sumi Colligan 

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for Rwanda." Annihilating Difference: "The Anthropology of Genocide." 

A. L. Hinton, ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. 
Marettki, Thomas. "Cultural Variation in Biomedicine: The Kur in West Germany." 

Medical Anthropology Quarterly 3.1 (Mar. 1989): 22-35. 
Patton, Cindy. Inventing AIDS. New Yotk: Routledge, 1990. 
Proctor, Robert. Racial Hygiene: "Medicine under the Nazis." Cambridge, MA: 

Harvard UP, 1988. 

Schaft, Gretchen. "Scientific Racism in Service of the Reich: German Anthro- 
pologists in the Nazi Era." Annihilating Difference: "The Anthropology of 
Genocide." A. L. Hinton, ed. Berkeley: U of California P 2002. 

'the Mind's Eye 31 

Sumi CeUigan 

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. ''Coming ro Our Senses: Anthropology and Genocide." 

Annihilating Difference: "The Anthropology of Genocide." A, L. Hinton, 

ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. 
Snyder, Sharon, and David Mitchell. Cultural Locations of Disability. Chicago: 

U of Chicago P, 2006. 
Taylor, Christopher. "The Cultural Face of Terror in the Rwandan Genocide of 

1 994." Annihilating Difference: "The Anrliropology of Genocide." A. L. 

Hinton, ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. 
"The Triumph of Evil." Frontline. PBS. 26 Jan. 1999, 

32 The Mind's Eye 

Turning to English 


I was nine years old in 1 947 when I was put into yet another school and 
forced to learn my fourth language. It was in Berlin. In West Berlin. In 
the British sector. In a Dutch villa built in Dahlem just before 1938. 
My mother and my two younger brothers and I were finally reunited with 
our father after th ree years of separation. 

It had been on a grim day in mid November 1944 that my father raced 
us in a black car through smoky smoldering empty streets, slick with sleet. 
Houses, apartment buildings, storefronts full of holes, shattered glass. Ruins. 
He drove us to the Tempelhof airport in Berlin. The flight to Stockholm was 
bumpy. My mother was silent, her ruby-red lips pursed, her eyes angry, her 
cheeks flushed. I was confused. I was not weepy. 1 was jealous. Jealous of 
my one-yeat-younger brother, who leaned snuggly against my mothers fur 
coat. Jealous of my baby brother, who huddled peacefully in my mother's lap, 
oblivious of the noise of the propellers , the veering of the plane, the scratchy 
seat I was slipping out from under. 

My father stayed behind on that gri m November day in 1 944. Behind 
in the ruins of rhe once glittering metropolis, Berlin. He had arrived in 
1928. My fathers brand-new job at the age of 29 was agricultural assistant 
to the attache of agriculture of the Netherlands embassy in the diplomatic 

Iht Mind's Eye 33 

Adriana Millenaiir Brown 

district, in the heart of Berlin. He had come from a farm in Brabant, 
southern Netherlands, where he had become knowledgeable in horticulture 
and agriculture. In the late 1920s the Dutch embassies in London, Paris and 
Berlin needed and appointed agricultural experts. Suddenly countries were 
trading a new product besides the dairy ones: tomatoes. "Hot" tomatoes. 

In 1934 my Protestant Dutch father married my Roman Catholic 
Getman mother. I was born two days after Hitler goose-stepped into Austria 
in March 1938. My brother was born the following year, the year World War 
II broke our. The Netherlands (having been neutral in World War I) had 
signed a rreaty with Sweden earlier in rhe 1930s, agreeing that the Swedes 
would take cate of Dutch interests in case of war. When Hitler invaded and 
occupied the Netherlands in May 1 940, the members of the Dutch embassy in 
Berlin fled. Eight hundred Dutch citizens, studying, living and doing business 
in Berlin, were immediately incarcerated in the Alexanderplatz prison. My 
father, after being pressed by the Dutch government and foreign office, gave 
in and reluctantly agreed to stay behind and fulfill the demand the Swedes 
had made, namely that one Dutchman assist them with the interests the 
Netherlands had requested them to protect. 

That is how Adrianus (Jacq) Millenaar was officially "accredited to the 
Protecting Powet, Department-B, of the Swedish embassy in Berlin" from 
1940 until the bitter end of 1945. "[hat is why I, of a Dutch father and a 
German mother, was born in the hell of Berlin and did not get out of that 
hell until \ was six and then later again until I was 16 and then later again, 
after I had married in the grand land of the US of America in the late 1 960s, 
and after that much, much later in rhe late 1980s after college and marriage. 
I finally figured out what post-traumatic stress disorder meanr. Ir was long, 
long delayed, but PTSD it certainly was. Because the Allies bombed the hell 
out of the hearr of Berlin. I was always there. Five times a day, the nights, I 
don't know, I was grabbed by ever-thinning arms by whoever was near me, 
down flights of dark stairs into dank, ice-cold cellars. I shivered. My hands 
clammy in summer and my fingers stiff in winter. My fists pressed against 
my ears. A bomb exploded. The walls of our apartment building in the 
cellar of the Nestor Strasse shook. I shuddered. The alarm screeched. The 
siren pierced my ears, in spite of the fists I had plugged into them, which 
when I turned 50 or so required hearing aids because of my cookie-bite 
problem. At the same time 1 had to acquire a maxillary splint, because I had 
ground my teeth loose — a remnant of the anxiety I had undergone during 

34 The Mind's Eye 

Adriima Millenaar Brown 

wartime, my dentist suspected. It did not hinder my teaching English for 
Speakers of Other Languages at MCLA in Massachusetts of the grand US 
of A throughout the 1 990s. On the contrary. 1 turned up that annoying digital 
hearing aid, I gritted my teeth and was dead certain that if I could get German, 
Dutch, Swedish and English under my preteen belt, my adult students from 
Asia, Latin America and Bosnia could easily mastet English under my hyped- 
up tutelage. Because, even though my Dutch father had insisted that my 
German mother learn proper Dutch from 1934 on, I now believe that she 
spoke quite a bit of Gentian with us while my father was tunning himself 
ragged, trying to negotiate on behalf of Dutch hostages, prisoners of war, 
slave laborers, resistance fighters, political prisoners. He did manage to free 
those 800 Dutch citizens from the Alexanderplatz prison, but chat was still 
early in 1940. Adrianus Millenaar officially visired 22 concentration camps 
until the Nazis btanded him a state enemy in early 1944. It was verboten 
that he take one more srep out of Berlin. The reason being: He passed letters 
from Jews on to Jews. The Swedes urged my father to send Leni, my mother, 
and us to Sweden. It was six months before we were given visas. 

In Germany schools started in April, so I was sent to a German primary 
school at the age of six. Had to perform the Hitler salute, not knowing what 
that was about. Up to that time, until November 1 944, whenever my farher 
managed Co come home, he would rock us on his lap, singing Dutch nursery 
rhymes and at night saying Durch prayers (Hen hou ook deze nacht, Weder over 
mi] de wacht) until that grim day in November 1944 with sleet and smoke 
choking my passageways down deep into my soul. 

In Stockholm in the bleak midwinter of 1 944 I was sent to a Swedish 
school. After all, I was six, had to sink or swim in Swedish. German was 
verboten (the Swedes had become less "neutral" after Sralingrad). And my 
father's Durch? I felt queasy. Something was not right. His Dutch ptayet 
was not the same. I felt alone. He was not there. My mother wept. She wept 
duting the day. The long nights, 1 don't know. 

The Netherlands was finally liberated in May 1945. Somerime that 
summer, we flew "home" and I was enteted into a Dutch school. After 
all, I was a young Dutch citizen at the age of seven. My fathet, jusr before 
the Russians tampaged through Berlin, had escaped with a few Swedes to 
London, where the Dutch government in exile had resided for five years. 
He had become a colonel in the Netherlands Milirary Mission and as such 
had joined SHAEF (the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) 

The Mind's Eye 35 

Adritma Mitknaar Brown 

under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower and reentered the Berlin 
of the four sectors: the rightful occupation by the USA, Britain, France and 
the USSR. Germany was divided into four zones, with the Russian zone 
encircling the city of Beriin by an approximately 200-kilometer zone with 
only three corridors leading westward. 

Once electricity and plumbing were up and running and the bricks 
and smoldering mortar piled high into mountains of rubble, my father — a 
man in uniform with pretty silver stars on his lapels — rook us out of our 
Durch school in Wassenaar and drove his family back to the British secror of 
Berlin. His olive-green broad hat with a bright-red band around it must have 
impressed the pale, stodgy Russian soldiers, checking the propusk required 
to drive through the Russian zone. Brisk salutes were exchanged, and back 
we were in the hell of Berlin. 

1 wanted to stay in Holland. I loved school. I loved that lovely guttural 
language. I loved my new friends: Marijke, Anneke, Hendriekje. I loved my 
bicycle, my wooden skates. 1 loved the cows in the field behind our house on 
the Bloemcamplaan with the beech trees. And my father? He had become a 
stranger. A stranger in uniform: 

"It's a Dutch house with apple trees from Holland. I'll plant hundreds 
of tulip bulbs." 

And so, it was sometime in late summer, when the tobacco plants were 
still high in our immense back yard on rhe Rheinbabenallee in Dahlem, that 
1 was put into the British Army School to sink or swim in the British sector 
of Berlin in 1947, 

1 fell in love with the English language, k did not belong to my ruby- 
red-lipped German mother — a Jerry — whose people had done to others 
what they would not do to themselves. Nor did English belong to my proud, 
authorirarian srranger of a father, who was so anxious to protect us children 
from all evil. He never said a word about all the good he tried to do for his 
dearly beloved countrymen, his compatriots. He became consul general of the 
Netherlands in Berlin, was dean of diplomars, was one of the first to receive 
the Bundesvcrdienstkreuz, was decorated by Queen Juliana with the medal 
Offirier van Oranje Nassau and many more. He retired from the Netherlands 
Foreign Office two years after the Berlin wall went up. He had the second 
highest ranking in spite of his having had only three years of high school — an 
early dropout. A self-made man. 

And Adrians? In spite of four years of fun in the British Army School, 

36 '[he Mind's Eye 

Adrians Milknaar Brtnun 

she was sent to yet another German high school for two long, weepy years 
and after that finally to het beloved Holland to finish school there. She 
wandered around collecting more languages, became perplexed but not 
ctushed, because whenevet faced with a dilemma, she turned co English. 
English at the University of Amsterdam. It changed to American when she 
married; it changed to teaching French to American sixth-graders; it changed 
to English literature ill college; it changed to teaching English as a second 
language. English was her lifeline. Although she is good at speaking English, 
recording it for the blind and later also for the dyslexic, she is loath to speak 
up in company, actually shy. She would rathet be silent and listen. After all, 
most people around her love to speak, talk, gossip, lecture, analyze and not 
really converse, so what she likes most is to write, write in English . . . though 
. . . one day, she might, just perhaps, maybe, in all likelihood, conceivably start, 
begin, commence, I daresay, hesitate, commit to paper some son of piece in 
Netherlandish, Nederkmds, Dutch and hopefully not end up in double Dutch. 

She Mini's Eye 37 

Expanding the Circle 


— Rainer Maria Rilke 

We are seated around a table in a fourth-floor apartment in northern 
Germany. Four generations: Tame Anna, Harry, Herta, Manfred, 
Christa, Klara, Alex, Faija, Sasha, Sina, Rita and myself. On the 
table are pelmeni, smoked fish, chicken, kraut salads, potatoes, bread, pickles, 
grapes, tea, cider, beer, wine and vodka for the toasts, 

Lifting his glass, Harry Hagelen is welcoming me, a second cousin 
from Boston, to their home in Delmenhorst, a few miles from Bremen, For 
my generarion, it is the first meeting of the American and Russian sides of 
[he family. 

Aftet Harry's toast, I lift my glass and attempt a gracious response, 
using my schoolboy German, learned 40 years earlier as a student in 
nearby Oldenburg. But it isn't the difficulty of the language that stops me. 
Overwhelmed by emotion, I am unable to speak. Red-faced, I stare at my 
plate, struggling to tegain my composute. 

Why is this hitting me so hard? And ar the same time, how is it that I 
feel so at home among these strangers from the former Soviet Union, people 
whose only connection to me has been an occasional letter? 

For a long time it was not safe for our Russian relatives to have any 
contact with persons in the United States. But in 1991, under Gorbachev, 

38 Thf Mind's Eye 

Ban Jacques 

things were changing. I had recently completed a seven-part narrarive for 
The Christian Science Monitor about my grandfather's escape from Siberia, 
and I longed to know of family members who had survived Stalin and the 
wars. My uncle gave me an address and 1 sent off a letter. 

Weeks later I reached inro the mailbox and drew out an airmail 
envelope wirh orange and blue markings and Cyrillic words. I scanned the 
return address, unable to decipher the Russian cursive. I could feel my hearr 
beating as I sat down on the couch, carefully opened the envelope and read 
the first line: " Gate n Abend, mein Ikber Kind, Benjamin." 

It was from Anna Gregorievna, my late grandfather's niece, and 
she wrote in an old German, learned from her mother, and spoken by her 
Mennonire ancesrors, who had settled in Russia under Carherinc the Great. 
Widowed, Anna lived on a kolkhoz in the North Caucasus. In her lerter she 
enclosed snapshots of her four children, my second cousins. I would later meet 
Margarira, who lived with her rwo children in a nearby city, and Wolodja, 
who drove a tractor on the collecrive farm. 

"It's a very difficult rime," she wrote, jusr monrhs before the dissolution 
of the Soviet Union. They had potatoes and bread, but it was impossible to 
buy shoes and clothes, and when something did show up in the stores, ir was 
too expensive. She was thankful for her garden and a few animals. 

After the first letter, Tante Anna and 1 continued our correspondence. 
Each time she told of the comings and goings of her family. A niece had 
traveled to Germany and written ol the amazing things in the stores. Other 
relatives were emigraring. In one lerter she sent me a picture of a white goat, 
her favorite. "I love my goats," she wrote, "burl haven't had much luck with 
them. One has kidded, but isn't giving enough milk for the little one." 

The next letter brought better news. 'Ihere had been plenty of rain 
and the grass grew tall. The goats were giving schon Milch, 

"Bur whar will become of the kolkhoz," she wrote, "God only knows. 
If you have money, you can purchase land and farm on your own." They had 
no such money. In the economic chaos accompanying Russia's transition to 
a marker economy, unemployment was widespread, and rhe devaluation of 
the ruble meant thar salaries and pensions would not cover necessities. 

In a 1 994 letter she wrote of the emigration of several more relatives 
to Germany. Increasingly, relatives were taking advanrage of Germany's offer 
of citizenship ro Russians of German ethnicity. For German Russians, life in 
the Soviet Union had been difficult at best, especially during World War II, 

The Mind's Eye 39 

Ben Jixques 

when they were deported en mass co Siberia and Kazakhstan. Sent east with 
her family, Anna spent two years in a foresr labor camp, After the war she 
returned to the Caucasus, married a Russian and raised five children. 

"Yes, your grandfarlier was a Schaak," she wrote, using the German 
spelling of his surname. The Jacques family had two sons and three daughters, 
including her mother, also named Anna, from whom she had learned of my 
grandfather s escape to America. Jailed in Odessa during the first months of 
World War 1, Ivan Bogdanovkh had been sent to a penal island on the Ob 
River. A year larer he fled east across Siberia to Manchuria, China, and finally 
to San Francisco. Anna also knew of his brorher, reported ro have died in 
the Gulag under Stalin, and about their parents, her grandpatenrs, who had 
died of typhus during the Civil War. "What God gives we must accept," she 

Now, sitting atound the table in the Hagelens' watm apartment in 
Delmenhorst, I note the abundance before us. Platters are circulating and 
glasses are being refilled. Conversation has resumed in thtee languages. Across 
from me.Tante Anna, now 85, thin and white-haited, is laughing wirh Faija, 
a gregarious cousin from Siheria. My initial embarrassment at my emotions 
has vanished, and now I can finish my toast. Raising my glass, t tell my 
relatives in slow German phrases how happy I am to be wirh rhem. I pass 
on greerings from my wife, children and grandchildren in America. I want 
to say more, that for decades the pathways of the old family have diverged, 
that we have been scattered across continents, but that now, for this short 
happy rime, they have been tejoined. But I'm afraid to attempt too much, 
and leave it at that. 

As I waited at l.ogan Airport to boatd my Iceland Air flight to Ftankhitt 
for this visit, I wondeted if I would like my German-Russian rclarives. I 
wondered if rhey would like me. I questioned what I was doing, a 60-year- 
old English teacher from New England, chasing off to meer distanr relatives, 
separated nor only by disrance and time but by language and culture. Now, 
as I sit down to eat with my second cousins in Delmenhotst, my questions 
are being answered. 

To my left sits Chrisra, 24, rhe Hagelens' younger daughter. She was 
nine when her family left Ufa, on the western slopes of the Urals. A graduate 
student in sociology, she is pretty, wears jeans, an eyebrow ring, and warns 
to save the world. This morning she and her brother rook me on a tour of 
Bremen, jusr a few miles away. First we strolled along the Flohmnrkh the 

40 Iht Mind's Eye 

Ben Jacques 

flea market that lines the harbor. We paused in a light, rain to watch a liver 
freighter advancing against the current of the Weser River, and Christa pulled 
out a pack of American Spirit tobacco to roll a cigarette. 

"Yes, I've seen this tobacco," 1 acknowledged, recognizing the American 
Indian logo. "It's not supposed to have any additives." 

'American Spirit is pure tobacco," Manfred, her older brothet, said 
with playful sarcasm, "so its very good for Christa." 

At the flea market we passed racks of used clorhing, appliances, chairs, 
rugs, CDs and cheap jewelry. "When we first came from Russia," Manfred, 
an electtical engineer, said, "we had nothing. So we would come to this flea 
matket to shop. 1 would look for computer parts." 

Beside Christa at the table sits her older sister, Klara, 28, thin, dark- 
haired, articulate. She is finishing her practkum to become an elementary 
school teacher. From a town near Hamburg, she has ridden the train three 
hours to Delmenhorst ro meet me at her parents' home. She has come without 
her husband, an African from Cameroon, a linguist, also preparing to teach. 
But she has brought net dog, a shy, midsized black mongrel obtained from a 
dog shelter. Too fearful for much socializing, Klaras dog has sought sanctuary 
in a bedroom. "It takes time," she says. 

But not Lina, Christa's dog. A welLfed collie mix, rescued several 
years ago, Lina makes her way around the table, placing her head in laps 
while we eat. 

After dinner, cha i, coffee and pasrries are brought out, and eonvetsation 
in German continues into the late afternoon. Occasionally I ask Manfred, 
or his sisters — the only ones who speak English — for help in translation. 
The talk turns to literature, and I ask Klara if she knows Rilke, the German 
poet I have read in my bilingual collection at home. Yes, she says, and she 
recites, "kh lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringenjdie skh iiber die Dinge 
ziehn." I live my life in expanding rings/which move out over the things of 
the world." 

Meanwhile, her father, Harry, who taught German in Russia, gets 
up to retrieve a collection of Rilke's poems. I ask Klara if she knows another 
favorite, "Herbsltag," "Autumn Day," and she pauses for a moment, then 
begins, again from memory, "Hcrr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sebr gross. " 
"Lord, ir is time; the summer was immense. 

"Bring rhe lasr fruits to fullness, and ptess the final sweetness into the 
heavy wine." 

The Mind's Bye 41 

Ben Jacques 

In che windows of the Hagelens' high-rise, the north German sky has 
darkened. Klara continues; "Werjetzt kein Haus hat, bam sick keines mehr.l 
Wer jctzt allein ist, wird es iange bleiben, " 

"Whoever has no house by now will not build. /Whoever is alone now 
will so remain." 

Yes , it is Herbsttag I think, and our table is full with the fruits of the 
season. And my cousins, Russian immigrants, have found new homes in a land 
no less strange because it was the starting place of their ancestors. Here they 
work to build new lives, many of them still struggling with a new language. 
Here is opportunity for their children. Here they work, study, raise gardens, 
help new arrivals get settled and provide shelter to animals. Best of all, no 
one is alone. 

Later there will be more meals together, more conversations. I will eat 
borscht and strudel, pickles and persimmons. I will meet young adults from 
Siberia and Kazakhstan, engineers and mechanics, reachers and accountants; 
toss an American football with Aloysha, an 1 1 -year-old boy, and trade shy 
smiles wirh Trie youngest, Angelina, an 1 1-month-old girl. 

With Harry and Herta I will share old albums and documents. They 
will tell me stories of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles; show 
me pictures of life on the kolkhoz in my grandfather's "beloved Caucasus." 
1 will hear of other family members deported, exiled or lost to starvation or 

Herra, my second cousin, will also show me pictures of the modest log 
house she and her brother, who remains in Russia, have rebuilt in a village 
near Ufa, rhe dacha to which she returns by train in summer, holding on to 
something in the old country she cannot bear to abandon — something, I 
realize, I can only vaguely understand. 

42 The Mind's Eye 

Three Poems 


The Red Bicycle 

All that self-regard the cities spent on civic songs 
had been smoothed away here to two no-fuss frayed 
ends of town 

and a road like a string curving and tangling away — that is, 
when it quickened in your hand you woke up and saw 
the ocean it was tethered to. 

Christmas bicycles, my sister's in blue and mine in red, 
rested free against the house — and were stolen. 
At a loss, 

we strapped on skates to feel the endless chatter of the earth 
on the soles of our feet, or walked, giving in to the flat earth's 
least demand. 

The police blamed us for the theft: Why had we not feared the night, 
when thieves stretch out their tireless arms? 
On Saturdays 

we rode in rhe bed of Dad's truck, looking for our bikes 
beneath a sun we no longer trusted — their colors 
had been cut off 

The Mind) Eye 43 

Ttd alley 

from the only sun we knew. And although we never found them, 
[ dreamed I saw my bicycle's red curves bending 
far from the notice 

of the road, brazen on the porch of a house that kept to itself 
back in higher grass. I mounted up and pushed off 
1 rook back 

my compliant, heartless friend and forgave, in exchange for speed, 
the miles its wheels had run without me. My thief gave chase, 
but while I felt his fingers 

graze my shirt, I was fester, and always afterward, when I slipped free 
nightly of those who kept me in line, 1 sped through dream cities, 
taking what 1 wanted. 

44 Tht Minds Lyr 

Ted Ciltty 

Listening to Them Talk 

All us kids, seeded by Dad, grew secretly, pot-bound, blacker 

than earth, our roots btuised from ruining a downpour into tears, 
our tongues laced with ribbons of sweet blood. 

Saps for rhe heavy look and rhe love, we waited on the disrracred kiss, 
the back of the hand, the fist that shook the snake and released the soul 
of the mouse. We draped our bodies 

like dishrags over the fence at the border of the combed and corrected 
lawn and wandered like morhs through windows of the full moon. We knew 
the wicked would get theirs, 

because we did, and that winter would blindside our leather soles 
and crack its cold class ring on our noggins, because it could. And 
so we burned our lungs 

, of smoke that shreds the pile of leaves to ashes, counted 

the limbs that let us fall to earth, and took our hurts home to be blessed 
and excoriated and were sent off to bed 

when the planets waltzed across the hardwood floor of the sky, 

where ronight 1 hear rhem ralking in my sleep, rheir voices young 
and green again, the smoke and whisky fumes fresh 

in rheir gabardines, the notes of their cries and laughter glirrering in the thin 
melody an icicle sings as it blazes, returning to the only element it knows, my 
mothet and father, widowed aunt, uncle, 

longtime family friend long dead whose face is just a shadow 
the lights we tacked up in comers of the simple sky no longet 
illuminate or dispel. Say 

one thing mote: Have we forgotten everything? Wasn't there one last thing 
you said, long before we set about killing time and before we became, 
each of us, one of you? One thing you cold us never to forget? 

'Ibt Mind's Bye 45 

m Gilley 

Back Lot 

A woman splashed through the sky of my dream in a cheerful crawl. 
She wore a swimming cap, which gave her head the shape 
of a full white moon sailing through 
a pastel room. 

She winked ar me as she chopped by. There were traces, 
in her wake, of my mother's face. The style of the suit 
and the swim cap: late nineteen-forties, 
trim. Serious fun. 

And now that I have become a figure in the background 
of my own memory, I laze through the back lot of scenes 
that stood for something, once, and walk those streets 
without purpose. 

One of many ghosts, I slip along beneath the sun, headed 
nowhere, out of nowhere, no one waiting up for me: 
a kind of doll who only really wants to catch 
the attention, 

for a moment, of the boy whose path will converge with mine. 

But this is his memory, and he looks everywhere except toward me, 
which is as it should be, We'll meet soon enough. 
I'll point out 

all he missed as he moved frantic but unseeing through 
what he called his life, and he can accuse me, in turn, 
of not being there, or of showing up too late. 
Where were you? 

he might ask, the words bringing him out of sleep and sitting up, 
open-eyed at long last, with just a glimpse remaining 
of that familiar stranger's half-fam iliar walk, 
so much like his own. 

46 m : mm^ 

Two Poems 


Slea Head 

pedaling effortlessly toward the end of dingle 
stone graveled roadway 
no rain just yet 

repid brine wind mocks 
October sunlight 

staring off the chrome on my bicycle 

this road centuries old 

on the edge of a dark grassy sea cliff 

where twenty miles feels like five 

atlantic thundering below 
thatched roof cottages 
peat smoke 

there's more sheep here than people 

who speak a language older than ghosts it seems 

black shards of slea head appeat 

slicing through churning white alabaster waves 

I leave my bike and hike down co the beach 
holding coatse sand the color of peaches in my palms 

The Mind's Eye 47 

Mtttdy Dow 

lime green moss on wee gray rocks 
drips like hot wax 

beading trickles of water From the cliffs above . 

tea blue water sweeps onto shore rushing for me 

filling depressions and creating crystal deep pelagic pools 

behind towering rock walls 
narrow passages 

it mists 

I stand watching the tide come in 
there is nothing here 

48 The Mini; Eyt 

M'mdy Dow 

A Night of Wine and Li Po 

green grass 
a blanket 
by fishpond 
we laughed 
ancienr poetry 
[ could hardly 
stop thinking 
of your beautiful 

spilling blossoms 
of words 
into my 

Tbi Mind's Eye 49 

The People, Places and Stories 
Behind Emily Dickinson's 

Three Short Essays 


1 . The "Virgin Recluse" Breaks a Taboo: 
"Wild nights — Wild nighrs!" 

When Thomas Higginson, coeditor of the first edition of Emily 
Dickinson's poetry, came across "Wild nights — Wild nights!" 
among rhc poems discovered in a locked box in the poers room 
after her dearh, he had second Thoughts about including it in the collection. 
He wrote to his coeditor: "One poem only I dread a little to print — that 
wonderful 'Wild Nights,' — lest the malignant read into ir more rhan that 
virgin recluse ever dreamed of purring there" (Bingham 127). 

*Tne rhree essays that follow ire a representative sampling from a book in progress intended as an 
introduction for the general public to the poetry of Emily Dickinson [1830-1886). 

50 The Mind's Eye 

Lea Bertani Vozar Newman 

Wild nights— Wild nights! 
Were I with thee 
Wild nights should be 
Out luxury! 

Futile — the winds — 
To a Heart in port — 
Done with the Compass — 
Done with the Chart! 

Rowing in Eden — 

All — the Sea! 

Might 1 but moor — tonight — 
In thee! (Ftanklin, Poems #269) 

In spite of his reservations, Higginson decided to publish the poem, 
but he had just cause to be concerned. Most readers would see the poem as 
a candid expression of intense desire for sexual union, erotic in its ecstatic 
abandonment and with complete disregard for the taboo on such subjects 
in Dickinson's day. It is totally out of keeping with the "virgin recluse" that 
Higginson had come to know during the 24 years that he had been her men 
tot and regular correspondent. This is the woman who claimed in one of her 
letters to him: "My life has been too simple and stern to embarrass any" — and 
he had no reason to believe otherwise (Johnson 2: 460). He concluded it had 
to be her poetic imagination at wotk and not a tevelation of an illicit affair. 

Attempting to Explain the "Master" Letters 

Subsequent editors, biographers and scholars have examined all 
available evidence in pursuit of the life experience that might explain how 
Emily came to know so intimately, at the age of 30, when she wrote this 
poem, what the consummation of physical lovemaking was like. The most 
compelling lead that has surfaced is a series of three letters in draft form that 
wete found after her death. Known as the "Master" letters because that is 
the only identification given for the intended recipient, they raise more 
questions than they answer. We aren't even sure if final drafts were ever 
actually written or sent. 

The Mind'i Eye 5 1 

Lea Bertani Vo&ir Newman 

They are, however, clearly love letters. In the first one, she observes, 
"How . . . easy quite, to love" (Franklin, Letters 16), 'ihe second letter describes 
the emotion she feels: "A love so big it scares her"; she pleads: "Masrer — open 
your life wide, and take me in forever" (Franklin, Letters 22, 29). This entreaty 
bears a striking resemblance to how the speaker in the poem asks her lover if 
she could "moor" in him after "rowing" rhe wide expanse of rhe sea. "Wild 
Nights" and rhe second letter are both dated by the experts as having been 
written in the same year, 1861. 

In rhe last letter, the longest of the three, written either later in 1861 
or in 1862, she says: 

I am older — ronighr, Master — but the love is the same — so are 
the moon and the crescent — If it had been God's will mar I might 
brearhe where you breathed — and find the piace — myself — at night 
[my emphasis]. ... I want to see you more — Sir — than all ( wish 
for in this world — . . . . Could you come ro New England — ... to 
Amherst — Would you like to come — Master? ... it were comlorr 
forever — just to look in your face, while you looked in mine — . 
(Franklin, Litters 35, 43^4) 

Once again the poem and the letter echo each orher, borh expressing an in- 
tense desire ro be wirh her lover and envisioning her going to him at night. 
A significant difference is the specific reference to Amherst rather rhan the 
mythic "Eden" of the poem, one of several derails rhat have contribured ro 
the theory rhat rhe letters were addressed ro a real person. 

Trying to Identify the "Master" 

Dickinson scholars have not been able ro ascertain with certainty who 
this "Master" might have been, though, unlike Higginson, rhey do generally 
agree that he was not totally a figment of Emily's imagination. The leading 
contenders are the newspaper editor Samuel Bowles (Sewall; Wolff Farr) 
and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth (Habegger; Pollak) , borh of whom 
she knew when she wrote rhe Master letters. Both were married men. Based 
partly on internal evidence in the letters and on the contacts the two men had 
with Emily, circumstantial evidence has been convincingly amassed for each 
of them. It could also have been another man entirely, someone for whom 
we have no surviving documentary evidence (Habegger 4 1 1). Or, according 

52 The Mind's Eye 

Lea Bertani Vozar Newman 

to one psychoanalytic critic, Emily may not have been able to distinguish 
between fantasy and reality: As real as Master may have been to her, he may 
never have existed (Cody). 

To complicate the issue even further, several readers have proposed 
the possibility that Master is a woman. They see the speaker assuming the role 
of the male lover acting as the phallic force that enters the passive, receptive 
female (Todd 36-37; Marcus 57-58; Reed 283-84). Their explanation for 
this role reversal is that the "1" and "thee" of the poem are both women and 
are not constrained by any predefined roles or set sexual functions (Fader- 
man 20-25n5). The most likely candidate for Emilys homoerotic partner 
(assuming there was one) is Susan Gilbert, her best friend, who later married 
her brother and to whom she wrote what have been described as passionate 
and erotic letters (Hart and Smith xii, xiv). Some believe they are of greater 
significance to her love poems than the Master letters. 

Attending to the Poem Itself 

Ultimately it is the poetry that counts, however Emily came to write 
it, A close reading of the poem itself provides its own insights. For example, 
the poet's use of the word "luxury" in the opening verse sets the erotic tone. 
Accotding to the dictionary that Dickinson used regularly, "luxury" means 
"voluptuousness in the gratification of appetite .... lust," making it an apt 
and telling word choice (Wolff 383). Dickinson goes on to use the imagery of 
being "moored" in her lover as a ship at sea is "moored" in a port to capture 
the sensual union of coitus. Extending the nautical metaphor, she is rowing 
toward the safe hatbor that is her lover, where she will be contained by him 
in blissful ecstasy, the winds now futile, the compass and chart no longer 
necessary (Day 210; McNeil 1 5; Wolff 383). 

Attention to tense choice is also revealing. Dickinson uses the subjunctive 
mood ("Were I . . . Might I"), suggesting that she is writing hyporhetically about 
a possibility she desires (Juhasz 108-09). The attentive reader will note die use 
of the plural form of "Wild nights," thereby gaining insight into the enduring 
nature of the relationship that she longs for (Wegelin 25). 

In the final analysis, if the reader can become as immersed in the poem 
as the persona is "moored" in her beloved, the biographical details, however 
intriguing, no longer matter, and the poem speaks for itself. 

Ihe Mind'! Eye 53 

Leu Bertimi Vamr Newman 

II. The Good Little Girl Rebels: 
"Some keep the Sabbath going to Church" 

In 1861, when Emily Dickinson wrote "Some keep the Sabbath go- 
ing to Church," she was 30 years old, and she had sropped going to church 
entirely. It was a gradual process thar neither she nor her family could have 
foreseen during her childhood. 

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church — 
I keep it, staying at Home — 
With a Bobolink for a Chorister — 
And an Orchard, for a Dome — 

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice — 
I, just wear my Wings — 
And instead of rolling the Bell, for Church, 
Our little Sexton — sings. 

God preaches, a noted Clergyman — 
And the sermon is never long, 
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last — 
I'm going, all along. (Franklin, Poems #236) 

As a duriful lirrle girl, she arrended Sunday services regularly. She 
remembers how devotedly she had listened in church: 

The cordiality of the Sacrament extremely interested me when a 
Child, and when the Clergyman invited 'all who loved the Lord 
Jesus Christ to remain,' I could scarcely refrain from rising and 
thanking him for the to me unexpected courtesy . . . (Scwall 1 : 
269, Appendix II) 

Hers was a religious household where the family gathered for prayer each day. 
Emily recalls her father's proclaiming "'1 say unro you' . . . wirh a militanr 
Accent" that startled her (Johnson 2: 537). She grew up with the expecta- 
tion that she would respect her father's wishes and accompany her family to 
services at the Congregational church in Amhersr. 

54 The Mind's Eye 

Lot Bermni Vozar Newman 

Excuses, Excuses 

By the time she was in her early 20s, however, she was finding all manner 
of excuses for not going to church. Her letters reveal how she used her parents' 
concern for her health as a pretext. She confides in her brother, Austin: 

I am at home from meeting on accounr of the storm and my 
slender constitution , which 1 assured the folks, would not permit 
my accompanying them today. It is Communion Sunday, and they 
will stay a good while — what a nice time pussy and 1 have to enjoy 
ourselves. (Johnson 1: 140) 

To Susan Gilbert, she wrires: "They will all go but me, to the usual meet- 
inghouse, to hear the usual sermon; the inclemency of the storm so kindly 
detaining me" (Johnson 1: 181). Another lerter ro her brother describes how 
she is continuing to negotiate her way into minimizing her visits to church, 
this time in order to indulge herself in the beauty of nature — and prefiguring 
the sentiments she will express in this poem almost ten years later: 

I will write while they've gone to meeting, ... 1 stayed to Com- 
munion this morning, and by mar way, bought the privilege of 
nor going this afternoon. . . . It's a glorious afternoon ... the sky 
is blue and warm — rhe wind blows j ust enough to keep the clouds 
sailing, and the sunshine, Oh such sunshine, it is'nt gold, for gold 
is dim beside it; it is'nt like anything which you or I have seen! 
Qohnson 1: 187) 

Open Rebellion 

One account of Emily's open rebellion againsr church attendance has 
survived, rhough there is only what lawyers would call "hearsay evidence" 
for it. According to Mabel Loomis Todd, the coeditor of the first edition of 
Dickinson's poetry, rhe following is a record of a conversation she had with 
Emilys sister, Lavinia: 

One Sunday [Edward Dickinson] was for some particular 
reason more than usually determined that Emily should go to 
church, and she was especially determined rhat she would not. 
He commanded, she begged off, until they were borh weary. She 
saw there was no farmer use to talk, so she suddenly disappeared. 

The Mind's Eye K 

Lea Bertani Vozdr Newman 

No one could tell where she was. They hunted high and low, & 
went to church without her. Coming home, she was still unseen, 
& they began to get very much worried, parricularly her srern 
father. Old Margarer was questioned bur could nor say anything. 
Some hours rarer, Emily was discovered calmly rocking in a chair 
placed in rhe cellar bulk-head, where she had made old Margaret 
lock her in, before church. (Leyda 1: 478) 

Lavinia did not specify any date for this incident, but by 1856 Emily was 
matter-of-factly referring ro staying home from church in a letter to her 
cousin and longtime friend John Graves: "It is Sunday — now — John — and 
all have gone to church — rhe wagons have done passing, and I have come our 
in the new grass ro lisren to the anthems" (Johnson 2: 327). The "anrhems" she 
listens to "in the new grass" foreshadow the songs of the "little Sexton" in 
this poem. In another letter to another friend the same year, she wrires: " [If] 
God had been here rhis summer, and seen the things that I have seenl guess 
that He would think His Paradise superfluous" (Johnson 2: 329). Again, her 
conjecture in rhe letter anriciparcs rhe poem, specifically its lasr two lines: "So 
instead of gerting to Heaven, at last — /I'm going, all along." Or, as she puts 
it in another poem: "... Earrh is Heaven — / Wherher Heaven is Heaven or 
not" (Franklin, Poems #1435). 

A Fellow Rebel 

Wirhin rhe boundaries of her family life, Emily's refusal ro go ro church 
was a courageous act of defiance and independence; but in the larger com- 
munity of mid-19rh-cenrury Massachusetts, she was not alone in rejecring 
the Puriran religious Tradition. In nearby Concord, Ralph Waldo Emerson 
and his transcendental movemenr had preceded her, both in its rebellion 
againsr organized religion and in its celebration of nature as a source of spiritual 
beaury and goodness. Dickinson had read Emerson, bur unlike him, she was not 
concerned with doctrinal matters (Capps 1 12). In fact, as a letter dated rwo years 
before she wrote this poem makes clear, she chose to ignore rheological issues 
enrirely: "Mr S. preached in our church last Sabbath upon 'predestinarion,' but 
I do not respect 'doctrines,' and did nor lisren to him" (Johnson 2: 346). 

Alrhough Dickinson's concerns may have differed in emphasis from 
Emerson's, his ideas had permeated the culture of rhe rimes and had prepared 
rhe reading public for the unorthodox ideas in Emily's poem. Ir is nor surpris- 
ing, therefore, rhar rhis poem was one of the ten published during her liferime 

56 The Mind's Eye 

Lm Bertani Vozar Newman 

(Pollak 16). Like the others, it appeared anonymously and most likely without 
her permission. The editor of the journal that printed it was Charles Sweetser, 
Emilys cousin by marriage, who had probably received it from someone in 
the family. Ir was primed with the title "My Sabbath" in the March 1 2, 1 864, 
edition of the New York journal The Round Table (Scholnick). 

The Critics 

Two years before it appeared in print, Emily had enclosed a copy of this 
poem in a letter to Higginson. It was het fourth lettet to the man she called 
her "Preceptor," and in it, she asked, "Will you tell me my fauk, frankly" 
(Johnson 2; 412). We don't know if he critiqued this poem as she requested 
or what, if anything, he had to say about it. He did, however, include it in 
the first edition of Dickinson's poetry, published after her dearh. 

More rhan 1 50 years later, critics have praised the poem for its clever 
use of merer, its wit and its skillful irony. According to one reader, Dickinson 
adopted "the characteristic meter and voice" of the songs for children writ- 
ten by the hymn writer Isaac Watts. According to William Stephenson, she 
follows the form of church music but, like the 1 8th-century mysric William 
Blake, she rejects its "traditional teachings" (280-81). Emily's wit shows up 
in the contrasr berween the rwo preachers: the church's ministers with their 
lengthy sermons juxraposed wirh her understated "noted Clergyman," God 
himself (Towheed 23-24). In the same way, the apposition of "getting" and 
"going" in the last rwo lines lightly mocks the delayed happiness of the con- 
ventional heaven (Rieke 268). 

The speaker's playful tone is effectively undercut by the irony at the 
core of the poem. It is ultimately a declararion of rhe wrongheadedness and 
inadequacy of institutionalized teligion as Dickinson knew it (Rieke 268). 

III. The Poet Confronrs a "Terror": 
"I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" 

Emily Dickinson once defined poerry rhis way: "If I read a book [and] 
it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is 
poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know 
that is poetry" (Johnson 2: 473-74). The visceral wallop that the poem "I 
felt a Funeral, in my Brain" delivers meets Dickinsons own definition of 
poetry even as it gives expression to what may have been the most terrifying 
experience of her life. 

The Minds Eye 57 

Lea Bcrtuni Vomr Newman 

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, 

And Mourners to and fro 

Kepr treading — treading — till it seemed 

That Sense was breaking through — 

And when they all were seated, 

A Service, like a Drum — 

Kept beating — beating — till 1 thought 

My mind was going numb — 

And then I heard them lift a Box 
And creak across my Soul 
With those same Boots of Lead, again, 
The Space — began to toll, 

As all the Heavens were a Bell, 
And Being, but an Ear, 
And 1, and Silence, some strange Race 
Wrecked, solitary, here — 

And then a Plank in Reason, broke, 
And I dropped down, and down — 
And hit a World, at every plunge, 
And Finished knowing — then — 

(Franklin, Poems #340) 

When Emily was in her early 30s, she suffered an emotional trauma 
that she told no one about until seven months later, when she confided in 
her mentor, Thomas Higginson. In a letter dated April 25, 1862, she wrote: 
"I had a terror — since September — I could tell to none — and so I sing, as 
the Boy does by the Burying Ground — because 1 am afraid — * (Johnson 2: 
404). She provided no furrher details. She never again referred to this fearful 
happening in any of rhe many letters she wrote to him during the rest of her 
life — or, as far as we know, in any way to anyone else. Whatever it was, irs 
emotional impact was strong enough rhat she is still in its throes when she 
tells Higginson about it the following spring. She talks about it in the pres- 

58 TheMmdiEye 

Lea Bertmi Vozar Newman 

ent rense: "I sing . . . because I am afraid." Song has long been a synonym 
for poetry, suggesting that Dickinson is singing (rhar is, wriring poetry) to 
alleviate her fear. As she says in her letter, she "sings" in the same way a boy 
mighr bolster his courage as he walks by a cemetery. 

Theories Galore 

In the same year that Emily told Higginson about her "terror," she wrote 
"I felt a Funeral, in my Brain," a poem rhat reverberates with terror. Read- 
ers have persisted in wanting to know whar that terror was or how it might 
be connected with this poem. Biographers and scholars have obliged wirh a 
plethora of rheories. The "terror" could have been her fear of going blind as a 
resulr of the eye problems she was experiencing ar rhis time (Hirschhorn). Or 
ir could have been her despair at the ending of a secret romantic relationship 
with Reverend Charles Wadsworth when he moved to California (Habegger 
421 , fn.l). Or it could have been a profound psychic disturbance. 

The Psychological Perspectives 

The lasr explanation seems to fit the thrust of this poem most closely and 
has received the most attention. One book-length study uses "I felt a Funeral, 
in my Brain" as a basis for a psychoanalysis of Dickinson with a diagnosis of 
depression leading to "an emotional upheaval . . . of psychotic proportions ' 
(Cody 191). Agoraphobia is the mental illness of choice in another book-long 
interpretation of Emily's problems (Garbowsky 152). 

A third hypothesis has been proposed by John F. McDermott, M.D. 
Citing the guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental 
Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association, McDermott concludes 
that Emily suffered from a series of panic artacks. The "terror" of 1861-62 
represents a midpoinr in an emorional chain reacrion that began with a de- 
scription of a panic arrack that Emily detailed in a letter to her sister-in-law 
Susan in 1854, and that continued well into 1883 with her doctor's diagnosis 
of "Nervous Prostration." He cites studies that confirm that "the physical sensa- 
tions experienced by persons with Panic Attacks are perceived . . . almost always 
as a feeling they are about to die." He adds that "terror is a word often used by 
panic victims to describe the fear of death they have experienced" (McDermott 
77). Emily appears to fir the profile of a typical panic-attack victim: She applies 
the term "tenor" to het fear in her letter, and she describes, through the persona 
of her poem, the feeling of dying duting the course of her own funeral. 


Lea Bertani Vozar Newman 

A Fixation on Death and Funerals 

Some readers have gone one step further and have rejected the idea 
that this poem has anything to do with death or funerals except as a meta- 
phor fot a mental breakdown (Monteiro 656-63). However, to dismiss the 
funeral simply as a poetic device would be a mistake. Death and the rituals 
accompanying it were a part of the cultural fabric of Amherst in the mid- 
1 9th century and very much a part of Emily's world. From the age of nine to 
24, Emily lived in a house on North Pleasant Street, adjacent to the village 
burial ground, where she could see a stream of funeral processions go by on 
a regular basis (I-ongsworth 21). 

As a member of a family belonging to the Congregational Church, 
she would have been familiar with the procedure followed in the funerals at 
their church. This poem follows the same stages: the mourners paying their 
respects (first stanza), the church service (second stanza), the removal to the 
graveyard (the lifting of rhe "box" in the third stanza), rhe toiling of the 
bells (fourth stanza) anri the burial (last stanza) (Wolff 228). Cynthia Wolff 
points out that what is significantly missing is the "narrative center" of the 
standard Congregational ritual — the sermon. Dickinsons "funeral" omits 
this crucial element that traditionally sums up rhe life of the deceased and 
offers the hope of an afterlife. Wolff sees the poem as an explicit refutation 
of the claims of Christianity with the hymnal cadence of the verse serving 
as bitter irony (232). 

The Visceral Imagery of Fear 

What makes this poem unforgettable, however, is not Dickinsons attack 
on theology but the intensive aural, tactile and kinetic imagery she inflicts on her 
reader (Cambon 127-28) . She appears to have drawn instinctively on two innate 
fears that psychologists tell us we are all born with: the fear of noise and the 
fear of falling. The poem generates both of them. The repetitive treading and 
drumming, followed by the creaking, build to an overwhelming climax of 
noise until the tolling of a gigantic bell teduces rhe persona's entire being to 
an ear, To that terror of sound, the poet adds the other primal fear — falling: 
The speaker breaks rhrough a plank and drops "down, and down" in a free 
fall, hirting obstacles "at every plunge." 

To complete the horror, it soon becomes clear that the persona is dying 
at her own funeral, raising the specter of the 19th century's populat obsession 
with the fear of being buried alive. Familiar examples are Edgar Allan Poe's 

60 The Minds Eye 

Lea Bertani Vazar Neuiman 

"The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Premature Burial," though it is 
not likely that Emily herself had read Poe, since she admitted, in a letter to 
Higginson: "Of Poe, 1 know too little to think" (Johnson 2: 649). 

Capturing the Uncertainty of It All 

Dickinson's celebrated ambiguity shows up in the poem's last line: 
"And Finished knowing — then — ," Most often inrerprered as meaning that 
"knowing" ended with death (bringing about the end of consciousness), it 
could also mean that her life was finishing and she completed her grasp of 
knowledge even at the moment of her death (beginning to understand fully 
at last) (Faulkner 810-11). 

Just as these two conflicting interpretations are equally plausible read- 
ings of the poem's last line, the poem's origin remains ambivalent and debat- 
able. Whether it is a rendering of the "terror" Emily revealed to Higginson or 
a literary exercise about what madness or dearh mighr feel like, it is a poem 
written at the height of her lyric power. 

As her biographer Richard Sewall pur it, "She seems as close to touch- 
ing bottom here as she ever gor. But there was nothing wrong with her mind 
when she wrote the poem" (Sewall 2: 502). 

Works Cited and Consulted 

Bingham, Millkenr Todd. Ancestors' Brocades: ""Ihe Literary Debut of Emily 
Dickinson." New York: Harper, 1945. 

Cambon, Glauco. "Emily Dickinson and the Crisis of Self-Reliance." Transcen- 
dentalism and Its Legacy. Ed. Myron Simon and Thornton H. Parsons. 
Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1966. 

Capps, Jack Lee. Emily Dickinson's Reading, 1836-1886. Cambridge, MA: Har- 
vard UP, 1%6. 

Cody, John. After Great Pain: "The Inner Life of Emily Dickinson." Cambridge, 

MA: Harvard UP, 1971. 
Day, Marrin S. A Handbook of American Literature. St. Lucia: U of Queensland 

P, 1975. 

Faderman, Lillian. "Emily Dickinson's Homoerotic Poetry." Higginson Journal 
18 (1978): 19-27. 

Farr, Judith. The Passion of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1992. 

The Mind's Eye 61 

Lea Skrtani Voatr Newman 

Faulkner, Howard. "Emily Dickinson." Critical Survey of Poetry: English Language 
Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem, 1982, 

Franklin, R. W.,ed. The Master Letters of Emily Dickinson. Amherst, MA: Amherst 
College P, 1986. 

, ed. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 


Garbowsky, Maryanne M. The House Without the Door: "A Study of Emily 

Dickinson and the Illness of Agoraphobia." Rurherford, NJ: Fairleigh 

Dickinson UP, 1989. 
Habeggcr, Alfred. My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: "The Fife of Emily Dickinson." 

New York: Random, 2001, 
Halt, Ellen Louise, and Martha Nell Smith, eds. Open Me Carefully: "Emily 

Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson." Ashfield, 

MA: Paris, 1998. 

Hirschhom, Norbert, and Polly Longsworth. "Medicine Posthumous: A New 
Look at Emily Dickinson's Medical Conditions." New England Quarterly 
69 (June 1996): 299-316. 

Johnson, Thomas H, ed. The Letters of Emily Dickinson. 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: 
Harvard UP, 1965. 

juhasz, Suzanne. "'I Dwell in Possibility': Emily Dickinson in the Subjunctive 
Mood." Emily Dickinson Bulletin 32 ( 1 977): 1 05-09. 

Leyda, Jay. The Years and Hours of Emily Dickinson, 2 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale 
UP, 1960. 

Longsworth, Polly. The World of Emily Dickinson. New York: Norton, 1990. 
Marcus, Mordecai. Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems. Lincoln, NE: Cliff Notes, 

McDermott, John F. "Emily Dickinson's 'Nervous Prostration' and Its Possible 
Relationship to Her Work." The Emily Dickinson Journal 9. 1 (Spring 
2000): 71-86. 

McNeil, Helen. Emily Dickinson. New York: Pantheon, 1986. 

Monteiro, George, "Traditional Ideas in Dickinson's 'I Felt a Funeral in my 

Brain.'" Modern Language Notes 75.8 (Dec.1960): 656-63. 
Pollak, Vivian R., ed. A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson. New York: Oxford 

UP, 2004. 

Reed, Michael. "Masculine Identity and Oral Security in the Poems of Emily 
Dickinson." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology *?.3 4 (1988): 278-86. 

Rieke, Susan. "Some keep the Sabbadi going to Church — ." An Emily Dickinson En- 
cyclopedia. Ed. Jane Donahue Eberwein. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. 

62 The Mind's Eye 

Lea Bersani Vozar Newman 

Scholnick, Robert J. "'Don't Tell! They'd Advertise': Emily Dickinson in the 
Round Table." Periodical Literature in Nineteenth-Century America. Ed. 
Kenneth M. Price and Susan Belasco Smith. Charlottesville: Virginia UP, 
1995. 166-82. 

Sewall, Richard B . The Life of Emily Dickinson. 2 vols. New York: Farrar, 1 974. 
Stephenson, William E. "Emily Dickinson and Watts's Songs for Children." 

English Language Notes 3.4 Qune 1966): 278-81. 
Todd, John Emerson. Emily Dickinson's Use of the Persona. The Hague: Mouton, 


Towheed, M. Q. "The Wit of Emily Dickinson." Banosthali Patrika 11 (]u\y 
1968): 20-30. 

Wegelin, Chrisrof. "Dickinson's 'Wild Nights.'" The Exj>lkator263 {Nov. 1967): 25. 
Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. Emily Dickinson. New York: Knopf, 1986. 

The Mind's Eye 63 

A Humanistic Approach 
Teaching Writing 


The Zeitgeist that birthed a humanistic force in psychology also deliv- 
ered a humanistic pedagogy to the discipline of composition theory, 
whose cries are loud still, debating how best to approach "self" as it 
is expressed and discovered in writing. The question exists: Should writing 
teachers require that students liberate their unique, signature voices and be- 
come more self-aware? Composition theory and humanistic psychology are 
abutting disciplines in this respect, sharing a concern with human potential. 
They share also the criticism that they ate self-indulgent, a throwback to their 
origins in the 1 960s. 

Readers: To experientially participate in this debate, I isten for my voice 
in this article. As 1 write, 1 experience a heightened awareness of my own pres- 
ence, I am pulled in its direction. 1 want to be audibly present as the author 
of this article. 1 don't want the language of the discipline I'm writing about 
(composition) or its environment (academics) to swallow me. It is hard, but 
ours can be an "I and Thou" relationship (Buber). 

Reflect on the success of academic authors who were characters in 
theit own prose, whom you could hear speaking in their writing. Consider 
that a text might seem moa familiar if you sensed that a person, somebody, 
was presenting the material, This familiarity would encoutage a relationship 

Jenifer Augur 

between reader and text. Traditionally, academia has judged less authorial 
presence more appropriate. However, some consider it imperative that students 
be authentically preset) t within their writing — authentic. These self-oriented 
theorists are called expressivists. According to the late James A. Berlin of 
Petdue University, they place "the self at the center of communicarion" (qtd. 
in Tate et al.15). They believe that this improves writing, makes it resonate, 
easier to read and accessible to a greater range of people. Self-less, difficult 
to access, traditionally impersonal academic language, they contend, isolates 
and divides, supports a dominant culture of power that accepts individuals 
who speak its language and rejecrs those who speak languages based in other 
discourse communities, relegates rhcm ro a lower class status. Ebonics is one 
volatile example. 

Voice in writing reflects how wrirers feel about themselves. Do they 
feel subordinate or authoritative? Rejected or accepted? With volition or 
voiceless? To strcngrhen their voice, and character, writers musr progress 
toward a keener sense of judgmenr, an ability to keep their environment 
in perspective, including the "correctness" of the academic voice, its power 
and rheir role in relationship to this correctness. They must move away from 
relying on others to determine whar's righr or wrong, away from an external, 
judgmental, evaluative source of authority, in order ro feel self-generated, 
inrernal esteem. 

Mythological Proportions 

In some rhetoric circles, the birth of expressivism and its sibling, the 
process movement, has leached mythological proportions. Many stories are 
told, and books written about a "1966 Dartmouth seminar, where the Brit- 
ish theorists John Dixon and James Britron invoked the idea of growth as 
part of an attempt to shift work in English away from the analysis of a fixed 
set of great books and toward a concern with the uses that students make of 
language" (Harris ix). Much energy for change was disseminated from this 
Dartmourh seminar, the Woodstock of composition theory. But some of the 
changes that occurred are criticized. Some scholars react to what they perceive 
as an endorsement of solipsistic chaos. Those mediaring between the two 
positions plead for dialogue between self and text that does not disallow the 
self a central role, yet is acutely aware that, in order to learn , the self needs 
to decentralize as well, to integrate "other" into its being. The tone of voice 
of the debate borders on squawking. Fingers point from bandwagons. There 

The Mind's Eye 65 

Jenifer Augur 

is the tendency to compartmentalize. The champion: binary thinking. (It's 
either this way or that.) I experience this tendency as I ptesent this informa- 
tion. Balance is difficult to achieve. Just ask student writers. 

A Cartesian vitus wedges itself berween internal and external truths, 
blocks rhe discipline from moving forward. Articles currently published 
in English journals feed the ambivalence berween a so-called "permissive" 
approach and a conservative tradition. In many ways, the battle is berween 

excerpt from an article by Timothy E. McCtacken and W. Allen Ashby of 
what one author presenrs as an example of extreme expressivism; 

"It is loving that is the problem. . . . Our students are not in love 
with anything. . . . [0]ur task must be to reach deeper and restore 
the lost connections between the sources of all love and objects 
of love for it is these that have been severed — and the gap grows 
wider each year. . . . [W]e insist that there is not and should not 
be any way to evaluate writing! How would you evaluate a life?" 
(qtd. in Fulkerson 425n4) 

The general public becomes involved, with its emotional reaction to the role 
of the Spanish language in U.S. culture. Allan Bloom wtites The Closing of 
the American Mind, and sentiments swing towatd standardized testing. Divi- 
sions exist within scholarly camps over more abstract questions such as: Is the 
self ^an essence waiting to be freed" or an "essence waiting to be discoveted 
through writing" (Faigley 122)? Social constructionists believe that language 
and ttuths evolve from communities rather than from individuals. Mikhail 
Bakhtin, rheirpied piper, writes that the word always "structures itself in the 
answer's direction" (280), rhar we all write with a "hetetoglossia" of voices. 
Only in our most illusory momenrs do we speak from a singular self. Bur 
these theories are metely lenses through which we look for different reasons 
and results — many of which are personal. 


Writing teachets who adopt a self-oriented (also referred to as stu- 
denr-cenrered) lens encourage students to participate in meaning making, 
to coauthor rhe meanings of texts with their own interptetations. "An old 
model of teaching, centered on rhe transmission of skills (composition) and 
knowledge (literature), gave way to a growth model focusing on the experiences 

66 The Mind's Eye 

Jenifer Augur 

of studenrs and how these are shaped by their uses of language" (Harris 1). 
Within the new model, students are asked to reply to authority tathet than 
to parrot its material and voice; to produce writing that "renders" rather than 
"explains" (Elbow, "Reflections" 136); to recognize the language ofpowet in 
the canon of classic literature; and to esteem their authority as independenr 
thinkers by insisting, through the power of their written voice, "Listen to 
me, I have something to fell you" (Elbow, "Being" 82), rathet than "This is 
what I think you want me to say." In other words, to accept that language 
is an epistemological tool. "In teaching writing, we are not simply offering 
training in a useful technical skill. . . . We are teaching a way of experiencing 
rile world, a way of ordering and making sense of it" (Berlin, qtd. in Tate et 
al. 20). 

This shift in theory delivered the process movemenr, which awards 
writing experience priority over the written product. Researchers, including 
Sandra Perl (cited in Tate et al. 149-54), observed the phenomenon of writ- 
ing, asked writers to articulare their process, their "Umm," "Ah-haf'and "I 
don't blow whar I'm ttying to say!" Results from these studies revealed that 
writing is a nonlinear process, recursive. It doubles back on itself, often discov- 
ers irs inrent midstream. Traditional teaching methods have treated writing 
as if it were a linear process, expecting students to be cleat about what they 
want to write before they begin writing, to follow prescribed formats such 
as five-paragtaph essays and to submit papers for final evaluation without 
opportunity for postfeedback revision. 

The Process Movement 

The process movement strove to establish teaching methods that honot 
the often loopy, higgledy-piggledy, divergent creative process and students' 
experiences of discovery. It encoutaged teachers to assign many essay drafts, 
to grade only final portfolios, to teach a process of continual fevision, to not 
testrict students as they plow/maneuver through the messy, indeterminate, 
disorienting stages of composing and to trust and facilitate this process. "A 
central goal of literary study thus became not only the wtiting of criticism 
but the deepening of students' own creative powers" (Harris 27). 

Advocates of the process approach encoutage srudents to sepatate 
the creative from the editorial stage, to first freewrite, to unself-consciously 
genetate many pages of raw, unedited material, running blindly with ideas, 
expanding perspectives, exploring relationships with the subject mattet; to 

Ihe Mind's Eye 67 

Jenifer Aupir 

edit at a later stage; to diverge first from the feeling, from the seed of attrac- 
tion, from why they wanted to write on the subject in the first place, and 
to repeatedly return to this motivation as they revise. Ultimately, they will 
converge on what they discover to be the controlling idea. Elbow calls these 
two stages rhe "believing" and the "doubting" stages (Writing Appendix). In 
the believi ng stage, the writer believes everything she writes, affirms her every 
extension as she seeks to expand her seminal ideas. In the doubting stage, she 
can question herself, hold firm dialectic with what she has produced, testing 
its validity, how it stands up to disbelief. If pracriced simultaneously, rhe 
two stages can stifle each orher. Writers often lose their train of thought when 
they stop to check logic and spelling. They suffer unnecessary frustration rrying 
to outline incomplete ideas. Writer's block frequently results when writers 
think they should be producing perfection from the get-go, rather than al- 
lowing themselves the necessary rime ro get there. Critics call the firsr stage 
of this process undisciplined. Others charge that striving for precision "in 
the realm where it doesn't work is nothing but undisciplined thinking" 
(Elbow, Writing 174). 

The Teacher's Role 

The teacher's role in the humanistic writing classroom is to provide a 
safe, uncritical, supportive environment in which students can better toler- 
ate the anxiety and insecurity thar accompany risk and change. Because as 
students revise and reorganize their loose ideas, as they search for what they 
wane to say, rhey discover who rhey are. "The writer achieves self-awareness 
rhrough writing. And like the therapist who assists her client in achieving 
independence, the writing teacher listens with undersranding, listens from a 
nonadversarial position without evaluating or passing judgment" (Teich 1 43). 
Teachers communicate where students are understood in their early drafts, 
consrrucrively point to what is clear rather rhan focus on whar is incorrect. 
"The main thing that helps writers is to be understood' (Elbow, "War" 3 13). In 
early studies of rhe writing process, Janet Emig, professor emeritus of English 
education at Rutgers University, recognized thar correcting language errors 
has its roots in dysfunctional, controlling behavior. "Much of the teaching of 
composition in American high schools is essentially a neuroric activity. There 
is little evidence, for example, that the persisrenr pointing out of specific errors in 
srudent themes leads ro the elimination of these errors, yer reachers spend much 
of their energy in this futile and unrewarding exercise" (qtd. in Faigley 58). 

68 The Mind's Eye 

Jenifer Augur 

Feat of making errors and of being reprimanded can keep a human 
voice — self — out of writing. It can paralyze writers, prompt them to withdraw, 
to shrink to a distance from which they make only minor — rhe minimum — 
attempts to extend themselves, to grow. "It is not a lack of skill or knowledge 
that keeps an audible voice out of the writing of so many poor writers. 
It's their worry about conforming ro our particular conventions of writ- 
ing and theit feat of mistakes" (Elbow, "Voice" xxvi). Too much correcting 
resulrs in "performances to avoid penalty, to avoid being hurt" (Teich 77), 
meek subjects rather rhan bold, confident, i ndependent thinkers. In Abraham 
Maslow's terms, it leads to deficit rather than growth motivation. Students 
keep theit selves, their voices, hidden away. 

In process-oriented classrooms, in the early, nonevaluative stages of 
the writing process, students and teachers, neither of whom are exempt from 
the difficulties of the process, become active listeners and participants in each 
other's process, providing nonevaluarive, nonjudgmental feedback in the style 
of psychologist Carl Rogers, such as, "What I hear you saying is . . ." or "Are 
you saying . . .?" They learn how ro direct feedback on their own work by 
asking for responses only to specific questions, protecting themselves from 
an onslaught of opinion and diffusing the power of suggestion. 

Students spend time writing privately in journals, which are not graded 
by or shared wirh the teacher, learning that they don't always have to write 
for someone else, thar sometimes the most productive writing is done solely 
for oneself. Elbow calls this "deserr island writing" and recognizes its devel- 
opmental value. "As 1 use my insecure voice more, I wrire myself inro more 
passages of confidence; as I use my emotional voice more, I write myself into 
more passages of calmness and control" ("Voice" xiv). Private writing allows 
the writer to wotk through cliches or dead ends, to flush out reactionary, 
combative tones, to stumble through nonverbal, inarticulate thoughts without 
manipulating original experience to fir expectations or conventions. 

The Inchoate 

The nonverbal, the inchoate, that which stubbornly defies articula- 
tion, is respecred as an important element of the process as well. Sometimes 
attributed to the body, to a physical sensation or gut feeling, it often dwells 
closest to the heart of what one wants to but still can't say. When writers 
honor this hesitancy, when they admit, "No, I haven't got it. This isn't what 
I really want to say," they maintain space from which ideas eventually can 

The Mind's En (8 

Jenifer Augur 

emerge; they reach toward a "congruence berween what you feel inside and 
what you say outside about how you feel inside" (Teich 78). Prematurely ac- 
cepting ideas that don't feel right simply relieves the tension of the process. 
When writers limit writing to what is known, remain content with surface 
words, though so many wait/abide below, rhey rob the quality of their texts 
of the excitement of honest discovery. Greater tolerance for the open-ended 
inarticulate helps them actualize their potential, allows both them and their 
writing to become. Humanistic writing teachers lead students to this space, 
then trust that students will find there what is valuable to them . 
And they go there themselves; 

Paying better attention to the inarticulate — having more respect 
for rhe nonverbal — often leads writers to the articulate. Most of 
my own progress in learning ro write has come from my gradually 
learning to listen mote carefully to what I haven't yet managed to 
get into words — waiting and trying to feel better my nonverbal 
feelings and intentions — and tespecting the idea that I know more 
than I can say. This stance helps me be willing to find rime and 
energy to tease into language what the phenomenologist Eugene 
Gendlin calls my "felt bodily sense." (Elbow, "War" 8) 

Students can become estranged from this "felt bodily sense," from an 
internal, centered motivation to write, when their only audience is an authot- 
ity. Their wriring evidences this. When they safely provide the teacher with 
what they perceive she wants and will accept, no risks are taken in style. Their 
writing lacks a resonant, audible signature. "All that can save [sentences] is 
the speaking tone of voice somehow entangled in the words and fastened to 
the page for the ear of the imagination" (Robert Frost, qtd. in Elbow, "Voice" 
xxtv). Some students stop writing when they leave the classroom, stating, 
tragically, that they "hate to write," because they haven't been taught to write 
for, and from, themselves, to participate at a petsonal level. But, as the late 
educator and editor of Ararat Quarterly Leo Hamalian has seen, "Once rhe 
student finds his own 'voice,' he attains an honesty of selfhood in his prose 
that distinguishes it from the duty-driven drivel that he sometimes submits 
as a theme" (qtd. in Harris 29). 

e. e. cummings eliminated capital letters. James Joyce's sentences 
sometimes last pages, Ebonics' patterns also serve its intentions — as does 
all language, when it finds the common, holy ground between speaker and 
listenet, writer and reader, teacher and student. 

70 The Mini's Eye 

Jenifer Augur 

The Education System 

The education system, however, does not always hold up its end of 
this sacred bargain. Schools, undeniably, are places of perceived oppression, 
where students must do as the teacher says. Teachers possess truths students 
must learn in order to enjoy status and rewards. But schools also are places of 
resistance. Humanistic pedagogy participates in such resistance, It weakens the 
traditional role of teachers by dispersing power, by requiring that they possess 
the self-confidence to work eye level with students rather than hide behind 
a desk. Shifting focus to integrity, it exposes the pretension in role playing. 
It invites diverse voices into the mainstream despite the mainstreams prefer- 
ence to be emulated. By encoutaging self-discovery in writing, the teacher is 
"engaged in a political defense of the student in her struggles to assert herself 
against what [is] seen as a dehumanizing corporate . , . university system" 
(Harris 26). 

Feminisrs joined these outcries of inequality from the movement's 
conception, and, in turn, expressivism has been labeled a feminist approach. 
According to Thomas J. Ferrell, professor of composition at the University of 
Minnesota at Duluth, "The female writing style tends to be 'cidetic, methectic, 
open-ended, and generative,' whereas the male style often 'appears framed, 
contained, more preselected, and packaged'"; "descriptive and exploratory" 
versus "definitive" (qtd. in Rosenthal 121). 

Expressivism also invites emotion into its definition of intelligence, 
and its punctuation, such as the exclamation point, which women use more 
often than men and which adds audible voice to wtiting, arguing that these 
minority writing practices communicate legitimate experience. In what 
she calls the "Griselda syndrome," Joan Bolker, a clinical psychologist who 
coaches authors, warns of rhe danger of abandoning legitimate experience. 
Her studies revealed that women tend to receive better grades in traditional 
writing classes because they are adept at being "good girls," at doing what 
they are told, at abandoning themselves (cited in Rosenthal 124). 

Humanistic writing teachers accommodate "otherness" in the class- 
room, believe that "human differences are the raw material of writing" (Berlin, 
qtd. in Tate et al. 18). They supplement the literary canon wich alternative 
models that better reflect minority experience. They recognize how oral and 
gender styles influence writing, and they bring these influences to students' 
attention. But students must make their own decisions. The teacher's role 
isn't to force values, rather to assist students as they identify and articulate 

The Mind's Eyel\ 

Jrnifir Augur 

theirs, "even if thac means 1 must sometimes look on helplessly while they 
believe something 1 wish they would abandon" (Bartholomae and Elbow, 
"Interchanges" 91). Teachers must respect the barriers students erect to 
defend their own uniqueness. And they must recognize theif own arbitrary 
biases, for what does not resonate for one person may profoundly resonate 
for another. 

This is the ability to love and feel great power in a piece whiie 
still being able to say, "Bur rhis is not my kind of writing — it 
doesn't really fit me" — and still help the wrirer revise her piece 
in a direcrion different from one's own predilections or taste. . . . 
This kind of reader is more expert at listening for resonance even 
when it involves what is "other" or "different" from herself, ( Elbow, 
"Voice" sxxvrii) 

Often, when students are permitted to write authoritatively — to be 
authors — they respond that it is a strange and difficult experience. Some- 
times, they are afraid of rhc power of their own authenticity, preferring to 
mask their voice and adopt a persona — an assumed voice — to safeguard them 
from criticism, to be accepted into the mainstream, to remain invulnerable to 
uncomfortable change and powet. This stylistically adapted writing may be 
mechanically, structurally perfect, bur it hides self, What is written does not 
linger on readers' minds. Irs voice is not personally tactile; it doesn't gtip the 
reader; the reader can't get a handle on it; indeed, the writer has not extended 
a hand, hasn't fully extended himself. 

Therapists are trained to recognize such ineffectual posturing as a 
device to avoid growth and change. Writing teachers, also, have begun to 
value psychological training. Rogerian workshops, based on the ideas of 
Carl Rogers, are being held by composition scholars, such as Pat Carini, to 
encourage teachers to enter a piece of writing; to locate the uniqueness of the 
text and the student, no matter how deeply h idden; to listen for the "hetero- 
glossia" of voices that influence the writing; to consider where these voices 
originate, what prompts them, who's speaking; and to encoutage students to 
self-reflect, to think about who they are. Why? Because how students express 
themselves depends on their self-perception, and heightened self-perception 
helps students be more fully present on the page. 

This "relationship between voice and identity ... is the issue of grear- 
est contention in Voice' discussions in composition" (Elbow, "Voice" xix). 

72 The Minds Eye 

Jenifer Augur 

The question remains: Is it the wfiting teacher's job to help students become 
more self-aware? Is it the teacher's responsibility to shake things up a bit, to 
ask students to dig deeper, to experience more disorientation, to shift the 
crusts of their armor, to uncover themselves, to write about less-resolved 
subjects, to look at seemingly familiar subjects through less-familiar lenses, 
to participate originally rather than to experience only what they think is 
expected of them? 

For humanistic writing teachers, it is the pedagogy of choice. "To re- 
invigorate teaching we need a new confidence in our . . . humanistic literary 
traditions," to trust that "developing the student as a writer and as a person 
[are] inextricably linked" (Harris 25). 

Works Cited 

Bakhtin, Mikhail. "Discourse in the Novel." The Dialogic Imagination: Tour Essays." 
Ed. Michael Holquist. Austin: U of Texas P 1981. 275-300. 

Bartholomae, David, and Peter Elbow. "Interchanges." College Composition and 
Communication 46.1 (1995): 84-96. 

Berlin, James A. "A Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theo- 
ries." College English 44.8 (Dec. 1982): 765-77. 

Buber, Martin. / and Ihou. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Scribncr's, 

Elbow, Peter. "About Voice and Writing." Landmark Essays on Voice and Writing. 

Ed. Peter Elbow. Mahwah, Nj: Hermagoras, 1994. xi-xivii. 
. "Being a Writer vs. Being an Academic: A Conflict in Goals." College 

Composition and Communication 46.1 (1995): 72-83. 
. "Reflections on Academic Discourse: How It Relates to Freshmen and 

Colleagues." College English 53 .2 (Feb. 1991): 135-55. 
. "The War Between Reading and Writing — and How to End It." Rhetoric 

Review 12.1 (Fall 1993): 5-24. 
. Writing Without Teachers. New York: Oxford UP, 1 973. 

The Minds Eye 73 

Jenifer Augur 

Faigler, Lesrer. Fragments of Rationality. "Postmodernity and the Subject of Com- 
position." Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1992. 

Fulkerson, Richard. "Composition Theories in the Eighties: Axiological Consensus 
and Paradigmatic Diversity." College Composition and Communication 
41.4 (1990): 409-29. 

Harris, Joseph. A Teaching Subject: "Composition Since 1 966." Upper Saddle 
River, NJ: Prentice, 1997. 

Maslow, Abraham H. Ibward a Psychology of Being. 2nd ed. Princeton, Nf: Van 
Nostrand, 1968. 

Rosenthal, Rae. "Male and Female Discourse: A Bilingual Approach to English 

101." Focues 3 (Fall 1990); 99-1 13. 
Tate, Gary, Edward P. J. Corbetr and Nancy Myers, eds. The Writing Teacher's 

Sourcebook. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1994. 
Teich, Nathaniel, ed. Rogcrian Perspectives: "Collaborative Rhetoric for Oral and 

Written Communication." Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1992. 

1 A The Mind's Eye 

Book Review 

Sentience and Sensibility; "A Conversation 
about Moral Philosophy," by Matthew Silliman 

Patmenides Publishing, 2006 


According to Mart Silliraans introduction, his aim is "to develop, 
explain, and defend a philosophical position ... in a way that a 
patient and educated petson who is not necessarily a scholar of moral 
philosophy will find accessible, Interesting, and compelling." Having had some 
second rhoughrs abour agreeing to review Silliman's hook, my response was: 
What a relief! Perhaps 1 am exactly the kind of reader the book is intended for 
after all — a professor emerita wirh some patience (I have raised five children!) 
who knows very little about the discipline of philosophy. 

1 need not have wotried, because the book lives up to its authot's 
intentions. It is "accessible, interesting, and compelling," though I might 
have added "challenging" as well. It's a book that has to be savored, not 
rushed through. Its nor weighted down wiih rhe jaigon that often obfuscates 
philosophical writing, but the issues that it confronts arc nor simple ones. 
They are as complex and complicated as they are compelling. 

Part of what makes the book so engaging is its dialogue form. While 
echoing the dialogues of Plato, this is a literary hybrid, part fiction and part 
drama. Two fictional characters meet when Harriet Taylor, a caseworker in an 
immigration office in Boston, interviews Manuel Kanr about his application 

■/he Minds Eyt7i 

lea Newman 

for "philosoph ical asylum" in the United States. What results is a long weekend 
of conversations (from Friday to Monday) about a moral theory that Manuel 
attempts to explain to Harriet. Manuel is a poor scholar from Cuba who 
grew up in India, attended university in New Zealand and England and 
is Muslim rather than Hindu. Harriet's parents were Jewish refugees from 
Lithuania; she was raised in Manhattan, was a philosophy major at Oberlin 
and a graduate student in biology at Columbia. She is piqued by Manuel's 
predicament. He is looking for a place that will be open to his theory, one 
that people elsewhere have found disturbing primarily because it raises the 
possibility that nonhuman animals merit moral consideration, and the idea 
that not all morally considerable beings are due exactly equal consideration. 
Her background makes her a perfect foil for his defense of his theory, and the 
ensuing dialogue between the two of them makes up the bulk of the book. 

The "Summary* that the author ptovides immediately after the 
"Introduction" makes it clear that Manuel's approach to moral philosophy is 
precisely the same one that Silliman himseif is proposing, a theory that he calls 
"value incrementalism." It is based on the view that valuers differ in degree, 
from inanimate objects (a stone) to sentient beings who may or may not be 
conscious subjects of their own lives (insects, cats, dogs) to moral agents with 
reflective self- awareness (fellow human beings). In the course of Manuel and 
Harriet's discussion, the reader learns a great deal about basic philosophical 
principles and vocabulary, from the historical origin of moral values ro the 
postmoderns' rejection of the existence of truth. I was particularly taken with 
the concept of the "knowledge tax": The more you know, the more you owe 
(the more capacity we have for moral reflection, the greater our obligations) . 
We also confront the ethical dilemmas that arise with issues such as abortion, 
vegetarianism, animal rights and care of rhe environment, but viewed from 
the perspective of this new approach that opts fot a nuanced solution. 

One of the chapters presents a concise and clear survey of cradirional 
moral theories, which the reader can supplement as needed by the section 
at the back of the book titled "Cast of Concepts and Characters" covering 
the usual suspects: Atistotle, Kant, Wittgenstein and company, and the less 
familiar tetms of biocentrism, passive valuers and the like. 

For a nonspecialist like myself, ir was reassuring to find corroborating 
evidence presented in the words of other nonspecialists: Pogo in Walt Kelly's 
comic strip, for example, who declares: "We have met the enemy, and he is 
us," and George Orwell's Animal Farm, where "Some animals are more equal 

76 The Mind's Eye 

Lea Newman 

than others." It was delightful to encounter Robert Burnss "To a Mouse" 
and the fox in Antoine de Saint Exupery's The Little Prince in the chapter 
titled "Ethical Vegetarianism," Through the dialogue of the characters he 
created, Silliman's irrepressible sense of humor comes through, enlightening 
the occasionally grim scenarios that Manuel and Harriet hypothesize over. 
Trie puns and deliberately mixed metaphors "enlighten" in both senses of 
the word — by providing a lighter note and by illuminating the concept in 
familiar yet unique contexts. 

In the book's appendix, an essay cowritten with David K. Johnson 
describes in formal terms the theory proposed by Manuel in the dialogue. It 
details two major components: an incremental assessment of value and the 
application of multiple criteria. The moral ideal their approach aspires to, 
accotding to their final statement, is neither perfect, exclusive friendship with 
our nearest compatriots not generalized and impersonal global compassion, 
but a reconciliation of these two based on their new multicriterial value 
incrementalism approach. 

Sentience and Sensibility is suited to specialists and nonspecialists 
alike. For novices, it offers an opportunity to get a taste of the pleasures 
and challenges of an unfamiliar but fascinating discipline. For specialists, it 
proposes a new approach to moral philosophy, and it serves as an example 
to be emulated — writing that presents philosophical principles clearly and 
coherently in accessible language. As Silliman himself cogently puts it: "What 
earthly good is a theory of morality that hardly anyone can read or use?" 

The Minds Eye 77 


Jenifer Augur is an assistant professor of English/communications at 
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) . She received her MFA in 
English at The University of Massachusetts Amherst and het MA in humanistic 
psychology at West Georgia College, where she studied with former colleagues 
of Abraham Maslow and Alan Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity). 

Peggy Brooks is professor of psychology and women's studies at MCLA. She 
eatned het Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Florida. She 
was introduced to the study of sleep as a graduate student by Wilse Webb, 
a pioneer of behavioral sleep research. Professor Brooks and her students 
have ptesented at regional and national conferences. Het work has been 
published in Psychological Reports, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 
Developmental Psychobiology, College Teaching, College Student Journal and 
Voices: "Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists," 

Adrians Millenaar Brown is the author of "Never Shall I Forget Her Calm 

Eyes" in At Grandmother's Table, edited by Ellen Perry Berkeley. She has 
described her petsonal experiences in two German historical works, and a 
number of her short stories have appeared in The Berkshire Review. She has 
taught Dutch at Williams College and English to speakets of other languages 
at MCLA. 

Sumi Colligan is a professor of anthropology at MCLA. She teaches 
coutses on the interconnectedness of culture, power, resistance and the 
body. In 2000, she participated in an NEH Summer Institute on "The New 
Disability Studies," and in 2004, she was involved in a DAAD (German 
Academic Exchange) summer program on eugenics and euthanasia during the 
Holocaust. Her cutrent research is on disability rights activism in Israel. 

Mindy Dow is an English teacher at Monument Mountain Regional High 
School in Gteat Barrington, Massachusetts, where she teaches ninth- and 
tenth-grade world and American literature. Her poetry has appeared in The 
Artful Mind, Cicada Magazine and various anthologies. She has an MFA in 
poetry from The University of Massachusetts Amhetst. 

78 Ihe Mind's Eye 


Ted Gilley's poems have appeared recently in Free Verse, National Review, 
Pebble Lake Review and Poetry Northwest and are forthcoming in Rattle. His 
stories have been published in Northwest Review, Prairie Schooner, The Other 
Side and other magazines and anthologies. He works at the Chapin Library 
of Rare Books of Williams College. 

Ben Jacques has raught English and communications at MCLA since 1990. 
His essays arid articles have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, 
including The Christian Science Monitor, Plateau Journal and Berkshire Living. 
He is currently writing a collection of stories and essays about his Russian 
heritage, his grandfather's escape from Siberian exile and his cousins' emigrarion 
and resetrlement in Germany after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His essay 
"Expanding the Circle" is taken from this collection. 

Lea Newman taught American lirerarure at MCLA. She has published books 
on Hawthorne and Melville, was president of both the Hawrhorne Society and 
the Melville Society, and currently serves on the advisory board of Leviathan: 
"A Journal of Melville Studies" and as archivisr of rhe Hawrhorne Socicry. Her 
most tecent books include Robert Frost: "The People, Places, and Srories Behind 
His New England Poerry" and a memoir, Growing Up Italian in Chicago. She 
is vice-president of the Robert Frost Stone House Museum and is completing 
her manuscript on Emily Dickinson's poetry. 

The Mind's Eyt 79 

80 Thi Mind's Eye 

Mind's Eye 

Writer's Guidelines 

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:ion of ideas of interesr to a liberal arts college. We welcome expository essays as welt as (kflon. 
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safeguard your manuscript and disk, we cannot be held responsible for their loss. 

4. Use MLA style, with in-text references, as appropriate to the content and disciplinary ap- 
proach of your article (see MLA Style Manual for guidelines). 

3. Please include a word count. 

6. While we will consider articles of unspecified length, preference is given to articles of fewer 
than 20 pages. 

7. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and accuracy. 

8. We will consider one-color artwork (e.g., photographs, line drawings, woodcuts), 

9. Payment will he made in contributor's copies. 

Submi t your manuscript to: 

The Mind's Eye 
Frances Jones-Sneed, Managing Editor 
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 
375 Church Street 
North Adams, MA 01247 
For queries: 

The Mind's Eye 
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 
375 Church Street 
North Adams, MA 01247